Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Social Work and Social Development Perspectives 9783030501389

This is the first book that examines healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. In contemporary South A

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Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Social Work and Social Development Perspectives

Table of contents :
About the Editor
List of Boxes
List of Figures
List of Tables
Part I: Conceptual Overview
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Pre-Colonial Human Relationships and Social Welfare Systems
1.2 South Africa’s Historical Tangents
1.3 Contemporary Sociopolitical and Economic Trends
1.4 Conceptual and Theoretical Premises of This Book
1.5 Global Dimensions
1.6 Purpose of This Book
1.7 Chapters of This Book
1.8 Conclusion
Part II: Interpersonal Relationships
Chapter 2: Resurgent Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa and the Need to Promote Healthy Human Relationships
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Tracing and Unpacking Racism
2.3 A Comparative Analysis
2.4 Continuities with the Past
2.5 South Africa’s History of Racism
2.6 Counteracting Resurgent Racism and Building Healthy Human Relationships via Social Work
2.7 Conclusion
Chapter 3: Gender and Healthy Human Relationships
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Critical Social Work
3.3 Working with Survivors of Gender-Based Violence
3.4 Building Healthy Human Relationships
3.5 Social Work Interventions
3.6 Implications for Social Work Practice
3.7 Conclusion
Chapter 4: Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Sub-Saharan African Countries and the Promotion of Healthy Human Relationships
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Policy Context Pertaining to Asylum Seekers and Refugees in South Africa
4.3 The South African Constitution of 1996
4.4 The Refugee Act, 1998 (No. 130 of 1998)
4.5 Definition of Entitlements
4.6 The Immigration Act of 2002 and Its Amendments
4.7 Violence in South Africa and the Plight of Refugees and Asylum Seekers
4.8 Political Violence Among and Between Different Political Formations
4.9 Violent Attacks Against Refugees and Asylum Seekers in South Africa
4.10 The South African Government’s Response to Xenophobia/Afrophobia
4.11 The Call for Ubuntu Philosophy to Enhance Healthy Human Relationships
4.12 Social Capital and Healthy Human Relationship
4.13 Social Development and Healthy Human Relationships
4.14 Conclusion
Chapter 5: Promoting Healthy Human Relationships with Sub-Saharan African Immigrants and South Africans
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Some Definitional Issues
5.3 Unpacking Human Relationships Between Locals and Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in Local Communities
5.4 Social Work’s Response to Promoting Healthy Human Relationships
5.5 Promoting Social Inclusion and Participation
5.6 Mental Health Interventions for Immigrants
5.7 Creating Cultural Awareness to Foster Acceptance
5.8 Conclusion
Part III: Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities and Vulnerability
Chapter 6: Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Children in Post-Apartheid South Africa
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Childhood in South Africa Under Apartheid
6.3 The Importance of Healthy Human Relationships for Children
6.4 Responsive, Nurturing Care for Healthy Development
6.5 Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship with Children
6.6 The Value of Good Communication in Building Healthy Relationships with Children
6.7 Challenges and Barriers to Healthy Human Relationships for Children
6.8 The Impact of Poor Relationships on Children
6.9 Improving the Quality of Caregiver–Child Relationships
6.10 Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Diverse Cultures and Communities
6.11 Conclusion
Chapter 7: Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Older Persons: A Social Development Perspective
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Theoretical Background
7.3 Older Persons in Context
7.4 The Way Forward
7.5 Considering Adequate Housing to Enhance Healthy Human Relationships for Older Persons
7.6 Collaborative Partnerships to Promote Healthy Relationships for Older Persons
7.7 Conclusion
Chapter 8: Fostering Healthy Human Relationships with People with Disabilities in Post-Apartheid South Africa
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Historical Overview
8.3 Conceptualising Disability
8.4 Models Aimed at Improving Conditions for PWD and Relationships with Society
8.5 Social Model of Disability
8.6 Achievements and Challenges in the Post-apartheid Era
8.7 Way Forward in Fostering Continued Healthy Relationships for PWD
8.8 Conclusion
Chapter 9: Promoting Family and Human Relationships in a Traumatised Society
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Defining the Concept of ‘Family’ and Family Well-Being
9.3 Functions of a Family
9.4 Social Africa’s Traumatic Past and the Impact on the Family
9.5 The Current Realities of South African Families and Society
9.6 Policies and Programmes Implemented by the South African Government to Strengthen Families
9.7 Strengthening Families in Traumatised Societies
9.8 The Social Worker’s Essential Contribution to Strengthening Families and Building Healthy Human Relationships
9.9 Conclusion
Chapter 10: Fostering Healthy Human Relationships at Community Level in Post-Apartheid South Africa
10.1 Introduction and Background
10.2 Defining and Conceptualising Community
10.3 Ubuntu and the Value Dimension of Relationship Building in Communities
10.4 Social Capital and Social Relations in Communities
10.5 Associations and Relationships in Communities
10.6 Forms of Local Associations and Relationships in Communities
10.7 Recommendations
10.8 Conclusion
Chapter 11: A Developmental Social Work Practice Framework for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for and Amongst Youth in South Africa
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Theoretical Frameworks
11.3 The Ecosystem Theory
11.4 Restorative Justice
11.5 Values Underlying Developmental Social Work
11.6 Absent Biological Fathers
11.7 Youth Unemployment
11.8 Involvement with Gangs
11.9 Developmental Social Work
11.10 Multi-Modal Response to Promoting Healthy Human Relationships
11.11 Mode of Poverty-Reduction and Sustainable Livelihoods Strategies
11.12 Mode of Family-Centred and Community-Based Strategies
11.13 Restorative Practices
11.14 Modes of Community Information, Social Policy and Advocacy
11.15 Conclusion
Part IV: Policy and Legislation
Chapter 12: Social Policy, Social Welfare, Social Security, and Legislation in Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa
12.1 Introduction
12.2 Policy and Legislative Transformation since 1994
12.3 Legislation
12.4 Conceptual Definitions
12.5 How Policy Instruments and Legislation Can Promote Healthy Human Relationships
12.5.1 Old Age Grant (Pension)
12.5.2 Child Support Grant (CSG)
12.6 Conclusion
Chapter 13: Social Protection as a Tool to Promote Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa
13.1 Introduction
13.2 Characteristics of the South African Society Pre- and Post-1994
13.3 Policy Instruments
13.4 Freedom Charter (1955) and the RDP (1994)
13.5 State-Led Assistance
13.6 The Values of Democratic Social Inclusion and Social Protection System
13.7 Findings of the Inter-departmental Task Team (1999)
13.8 The Taylor Committee of Inquiry (2002)
13.9 Social Protection System Boosts Women’s Access to Food
13.10 Social Grants Enhance Relationships Within Households
13.11 Conclusion
Chapter 14: Developmental Social Work Practice and Social Welfare Perspectives in Building Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa
14.1 Introduction
14.2 South Africa’s Approach to Social Welfare
14.3 Decolonised and Indigenous Social Work Practice Systems in Building Healthy Human Relationships
14.4 Conclusion
Part V: Future Prospects for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa
Chapter 15: Conclusion

Citation preview

Ndangwa Noyoo  Editor

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa Social Work and Social Development Perspectives

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-­Apartheid South Africa

Ndangwa Noyoo Editor

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa Social Work and Social Development Perspectives

Editor Ndangwa Noyoo Department of Social Development University of Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa

ISBN 978-3-030-50138-9    ISBN 978-3-030-50139-6 (eBook) © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland


“Professor Noyoo and his colleagues have compiled an informative collection on the need for enhanced human relationships in social work and social development in post-apartheid South Africa. Although the social work profession has historically emphasized the importance of relationships, this issue does not feature prominently in contemporary debates in the field where a focus on the economic and political dimensions of development has often obscured the need for strengthening relationships. Arguing for a renewed emphasis on relationships, the editor and contributors argue that relationships should be a primary concern for both social work and social development. This is especially important in view of the social problems facing South Africa today. The contributors range widely over topics such as gender, ethnicity, migration, the needs of children and youth, families, people with disabilities and elders, and they consider ways in which relationships can be enhanced. Drawing on social work ethics and wider cultural and moral perspectives, they propose that public policy and social policy in particular should seek to promote relationships through consolidating family integration and strengthening local communities. The book raises many important issues of relevance to social work and social development and deserves to be widely read. It makes a significant contribution to the literature.” —James Midgley, Professor and Dean Emeritus, University of CaliforniaBerkeley School of Social Welfare


I dedicate this book to the loving memory of Professor Brian William McKendrick, (4/10/1938 – 1/05/2016). In my formative years in academia, Professor McKendrick instilled into me a profound yearning for academic excellence and inspired me to continuously improve myself and not sit on my laurels. Professor McKendrick recruited me from Zambia in 1997 to come and teach social development and social policy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa. Thank you for believing in me, Brian. May your soul rest in eternal peace.


The book on promoting healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa is a timely addition to the discourse of promoting and sustaining healthy human relationships within the current context of heightened incidences of gender-based violence and xenophobic violence in South Africa. The willingness of members of communities to cooperate with each other, in order to survive and proposer, seems to be under considerable strain in South Africa today. It is against this backdrop that this volume examines how to promote healthy human relationships from social work and social development perspectives, with recommendations to address well-­ known social problems that have been attributed to abysmal social cohesion efforts and increased socio-economic disparities in the country. This edited volume explores interpersonal relationships in post-apartheid South Africa by examining the domains of, among others, race, gender and immigration status in the promotion of healthy human relationships and highlights the ramifications of the apparent anomie of healthy human relationships among different population groups in the contemporary South African society. Theoretical and conceptual understandings of a range of relational processes among individuals, families, groups and communities and the motivational underpinnings of these processes are fundamental to promoting healthy human relationships in society. Thus, the first part of the book advances the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the evidence and arguments presented in the book. Chapters that follow highlight the dynamics of the interpersonal interactions within the population that have persisted in shaping and moulding the status of human relationships, based on various socio-demographic backgrounds in post-apartheid South Africa. They also closely analyse the influences of culture and ethnic backgrounds on the promotion and/or corrosion of healthy human relationships in contemporary South Africa. The chapters also bring to the fore evidence-based solutions to address deficits in fostering healthy human relationships, while drawing from evidence of existing values and mores. Other discussions of the book examine relational processes among various population groups, including children, youth, older persons and people with disabilities, as a function of well-being and relational functioning. The chapters also explore macro structural factors in contemporary South ix



Africa and the specific contributions of social policy, social welfare, social protection and legislation in the promotion of healthy human relationships in the country. This book is an evidence-based social work and social development perspective that focuses on the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. It presents mechanisms through which relational processes influence individual, familial, group and community well-being as significant ingredients to fostering healthy human relationships among population groups in South Africa. I strongly believe that it is an important contribution to the knowledge base about mechanisms to promote healthy human relationships in the South African society at a time of increasing concerns about the abysmal levels of social cohesion in the country and an attendant increase in gender-based violence and violence against the girl child as well as xenophobic violence against African migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. I have no doubt that this book will serve as an important professional resource for social work and social development practitioners and academics as well as policy-makers, students and other professionals in the social sciences and humanities in South Africa and abroad. Johannes John-Langba School of Applied Human Sciences University of Kwazulu-Natal Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa


Part I Conceptual Overview 1 Introduction����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    3 Ndangwa Noyoo Part II Interpersonal Relationships 2 Resurgent Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa and the Need to Promote Healthy Human Relationships��������������������   21 Ndangwa Noyoo 3 Gender and Healthy Human Relationships������������������������������������������   35 Lungile Mabundza and Boitumelo Seepamore 4 Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Sub-­Saharan African Countries and the Promotion of Healthy Human Relationships������������������������������������������������������������������������������   49 Chance Chagunda 5 Promoting Healthy Human Relationships with Sub-Saharan African Immigrants and South Africans���������������   67 Ndangwa Noyoo, Thabisa Matsea, and Nomcebo Dlamini Part III Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities and Vulnerability 6 Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Children in Post-Apartheid South Africa����������������������������������������   83 Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk and Eric Atmore 7 Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Older Persons: A Social Development Perspective ������������������������   99 Mziwandile Sobantu




8 Fostering Healthy Human Relationships with People with Disabilities in Post-Apartheid South Africa����������������������������������  111 Laetitia Petersen 9 Promoting Family and Human Relationships in a Traumatised Society ������������������������������������������������������������������������  125 Francine Julia Masson 10 Fostering Healthy Human Relationships at Community Level in Post-Apartheid South Africa��������������������������  143 Kefilwe Johanna Ditlhake and Ntandoyenkosi Maphosa 11 A Developmental Social Work Practice Framework for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for and Amongst Youth in South Africa ������������������������������������������������������  157 Thulane Gxubane Part IV Policy and Legislation 12 Social Policy, Social Welfare, Social Security, and Legislation in Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa��������������������������������������  173 Ndangwa Noyoo 13 Social Protection as a Tool to Promote Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa���������������������������������������������������  185 Chance Chagunda 14 Developmental Social Work Practice and Social Welfare Perspectives in Building Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa ����������������������������������������������������������������  201 Mpumelelo E. Ncube Part V Future Prospects for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa 15 Conclusion������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  215 Ndangwa Noyoo Index������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  219

About the Editor

Ndangwa Noyoo, PhD  is an Associate Professor and the Head of the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. Previously, he worked for the University of Johannesburg as an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work and before that, for the South African Government, as a Senior Social Policy Specialist/Chief Director in the National Department of Social Development (DSD). Prior to this, Dr. Noyoo was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has published widely in the areas of social policy, social development and related fields, in the context of Africa and Southern Africa in particular. Ndangwa Noyoo has also presented papers at various symposia in Africa and abroad. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of the Witwatersrand, a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Development Studies from Cambridge University and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Zambia (UNZA). He was a PostDoctoral Fellow at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris, France, from 2005 to 2006.



Eric  Atmore  holds a doctoral degree in Education Policy Studies from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He has served on a number of education policy task teams for both the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Social Development. He was also part of the National Education Policy Investigation (1992) team and the South African Pre-school Study (1994) and served on the Education Minister’s Committee on Teacher Education Policy. He managed the nationwide Early Childhood Development (ECD) audit study in 2000 and drafted the National Guidelines for ECD for the National Department of Social Development in 2002. In 2004, he wrote a new ECD policy for the City of Cape Town. In 1994, he founded the Centre for Early Childhood Development and in 2005 founded the National Early Childhood Development Alliance in South Africa. His work has been recognised by being awarded the Community Chest Impumelelo Social Innovations award for public service in November 2019. He has lectured on Social Policy, Management, Social Development, Strategic Leadership, Financial Management and Political Economy at the University of Cape Town for 12 years. He has written and published extensively, both in South Africa and internationally. Chance Chagunda  holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Development and a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Public Policy from the University of Cape Town, a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Theology and Social Development, Honours Degree in Theology and Social Development as well as a Bachelor of Theology (BTh) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He also holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from the Ubaniana University, Rome. He previously worked for the South African Parliament as a Senior Socio-economic Researcher and the Catholic Welfare and Development organisation as an Economic Focus Area Manager. Currently, he is working as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town. He lectures at the postgraduate level in courses such as Comparative Social Policy in Africa, Social and Economic Development, Theories and Approaches to Development and Development Planning. His research areas include social policy, human and community development, food security and cash transfers. He has published and presented works in the foregoing areas both locally and abroad. xv



Kefilwe  Johanna  Ditlhake  is a social worker and Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of the Witwatersrand and Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), respectively, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Governance. She has extensive experience in teaching, the medical field, working with children and community development. She worked at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg hospital, various Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and universities. Her vast expertise includes Intensive Care Unit (ICU), neonatal wards, and various clinics in neurology, cystic fibrosis, virology, child abuse, play therapy and forensic assessment, learning and assessment, social policy, and community work and community development. Nomcebo Dlamini  is a Lecturer in the Department of Community Development at the University of Free State. She previously worked for the University of KwaZulu Natal in the Department of Social Work as a lecturer. She was also employed by loveLife as a programme co-ordinator and Careline Crisis and Trauma Centre as a trauma counsellor, addiction counsellor and domestic violence counsellor. She served as a board member for Cornerstone Safe House and Careline Crisis and Trauma Centre in Durban and Howick. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Social Work degree from the University of Namibia, and a Master’s in Social Science (Social Work) degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal. She is currently enrolled for a PhD in Human Geography at the University of the Free State. Thulane Gxubane  is currently Deputy Head of Department (HOD) and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. As a social worker he has worked mainly in the field of criminal justice and mostly with youth offenders, their victims and their families within the context of youth diversion. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Social Work from UCT for a thesis titled: ‘Exploration of residential diversion within the restorative justice framework in the management of youth sex offenders in South Africa’. He teaches and specialises in probation practice as part of the broader criminal justice social work field. His areas of research and interest include: probation practice, youth justice, restorative justice, youth sex offending, youth gang violence and reintegration of offenders. Lungile Mabundza  is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Eswatini. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Science from the University of Eswatini. Lungile completed an internship with Counselling and Psychological Services, at Watkins Memorial Health Centre, University of Kansas, and with Douglas County AIDS Project, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. She worked for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and completed an internship with World Vision, both in Eswatini. Her areas of specialisation include: Corrections, Well-being and Self-care; Empowerment and Solution-based Therapy; Gender



Studies and Women’s Development; HIV and AIDS; Breast Cancer; Play Therapy with children in difficult circumstances; and Social Policy and Practice. Ntandoyenkosi  Maphosa  is a Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Department of Social Work. She is a qualified Social Worker and holds a Master’s degree in Community Development. She co-ordinates the second-year year Internship Programme and teaches first year students, developmental social welfare, generalist social work with practice with communities; and to second year students and Social Work Theory, and to Masters students. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at UJ, focusing on adolescent attitudes towards gender-based violence. Her research interests include gender issues, domestic violence and women empowerment as well as social and community development. She has published several articles and presented papers on gender-based violence in both local and international journals and conferences. Francine Julia Masson  completed her Bachelor of Arts (BA) Social Work, Master of Arts (MA) in the field of Industrial Social Work and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She worked as an employee wellness coordinator the for local government for 10 years before joining the academic staff of the University of the Witwatersrand as a Lecturer and coordinator of the occupational social work programme. She has presented papers at both international and local conferences and has published in the fields of occupational social work, substance use and trauma. Her areas of research include workplace development, employee health and wellness, trauma, and substance abuse. Thabisa  Matsea  holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work from the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, and is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the University of Venda in Limpopo Province. She has worked as a social worker, coordinating services for older persons and people with disabilities, and practised generic social work. She also worked in health settings focusing mostly in the HIV and AIDS field. It is in this setting where she interacted with foreign nationals resulting in creating networks with organisations dealing with issues related to immigration. She has 10 years teaching experience in higher education. She is currently teaching undergraduate students focusing on specialised fields, policy and legislation as well as life skills. Her research interests include social work in the mental health field and general practice, and social work with various populations, as well as teaching and learning in higher education. Mpumelelo E. Ncube  holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He lectures social work supervision and community development modules at the University of Johannesburg. He further supervises postgraduate research. His areas of academic interest include supervision in social work, developmental social welfare and social policy. He has worked in the public, private and non-governmental sectors. Under the auspices of the National Department of Social Development and South African Council for Social Service



Professions, he has participated in task teams responsible for the development of a national Social Work Supervision Framework as well as a Supervision Framework for Social Service Professions. Laetitia Petersen  is a passionate social worker and lecturer who is dedicated to serving the needs of the people of South Africa. She is engaged in student development by creating professional, effective and efficient social workers for the South African context, while enabling and being receptive to the transformation of the curriculum, appreciating diversity and indigenous knowledge, and facilitating the health of others. She holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Social Work from the University of Cape Town (UCT), Master of Arts in Social Science from the University of South Africa (UNISA), and Certificate in Human Resource Management, Certificate in Ecometric testing, and Certificate in Employee Wellness from UNISA.  Currently, she is enrolled for doctoral studies at the University of Witwatersrand. Laetitia’s philosophy is echoed in social justice, fairness, empowerment, healing of others, training and development. Boitumelo  Seepamore  is a Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She obtained her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand and her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of the KwaZulu-Natal. She currently teaches community work and coordinates the placement of students in various organisations for their field practice. Her research interests include parenting and families and tuberculosis (TB). She is currently part of a randomised control clinical trial study on drug-­ resistant TB. Her focus is on the support of people with DR-TB/HIV and the effects of stigma on communities, particularly TB stigma on women. Mziwandile  Sobantu  is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He teaches third year modules in social ­development and group work and also coordinates the second-year internship programme. He is also supervising postgraduate students on their research. His research interests include Housing, Human Rights, Social Development, Human Development and Older Persons. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Johannesburg, a Master’s degree in Housing and Human Settlements and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has practised as a social worker in the non-profit sector and government sector. He has published articles in the areas of housing, gender, social development and human rights in both national and international journals. He has also presented papers on his research and other areas in South Africa and abroad. Lauren-Jayne  van Niekerk  is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town. She lectures predominantly on Social Work Research, Organisation Theory, and Programme Planning and Management. Lauren holds a Master’s degree in Social Planning and Administration (MSocSc), an Honours degree in Social Policy and Management, and a Bachelor of Social Science



(BSocSc) in Social Work from the University of Cape Town. Previously, Lauren worked as a Programme Manager at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) non-­ profit organisation where she was responsible for the management of comprehensive ECD programmes across South Africa. She also managed and contributed towards a large-scale national research project which was funded by the European Union and the Presidency. The study aimed at increasing access and improving the quality of early childhood development in South Africa. Her research interests are early childhood development, father involvement in their children’s early learning and development, organisation theory, and social policy. She has written and published on ECD in South Africa and is currently engaged in doctoral studies with a focus on father involvement in children’s early learning and development.



Auditor General African National Congress Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa African Union Central Business District Community Based Organisations Community Based Rehabilitation Model Commission for Gender Equality Congress of South African Trade Unions Coronavirus pandemic Department of Social Development Department of Social Welfare Deaf Federation of South Africa Democratic Republic of the Congo Department of Trade and Industry Economic Freedom Fighters Faith Based Organisations Foster Care Grant Family Group Conferencing Female Headed Households Growth Employment and Redistribution Gender-Based Violence Home-Based Care Historically Black Universities Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Human Resource Development Strategy Historically White Universities Independent Broadcasting Authority International Association of Schools of Social Work xxi




Independent Complaints Directorate Independent Electoral Commission International Federation of Social Workers Indigenous Knowledge Systems Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition Millennium Development Goals Mass Democratic Movement National Assembly National Council of Provinces Not in Employment, Education or Training Non-Governmental Organisations New Growth Path National Organisation of the Blind in South Africa National Party National Planning Commission Non-Profit Organisations National Youth Development Agency Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder People With Disabilities Quadriplegic Association of South Africa Residential Care Facilities Reconstruction and Development Programme South African Board for People Practices South African Blind Workers Organisation of South Africa South African Council for Social Service Professions South African Communist Party South African Human Rights Commission South African Social Security Agency Sustainable Development Goals Social Model of Disability State Maintenance Grant University of Cape Town United Nations Children’s Fund United States of America Vereenigde Nederlandsche Ge-Octroyeerde Oost Indische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company) World Health Organization

List of Boxes

Box 3.1

Case Study: Family Violence ����������������������������������������������������������   42

Box 10.1 An example of informal and formal associations in communities��  152 Box 11.1 Case study of repeat youth offenders����������������������������������������������  161


List of Figures

Fig. 8.1 Impairment, disability and handicap������������������������������������������������  116 Fig. 13.1 Policy and legislative context. Other processes that influenced social policy changes in South Africa����������������������  189 Fig. 13.2 Items on which recipients spent grant money (Chagunda, 2014)������  195


List of Tables

Table 11.1 Benefits and detriments of gang membership on self and relationships with others����������������������������������������������������������  164


Part I

Conceptual Overview

Chapter 1

Introduction Ndangwa Noyoo

South Africa is a kaleidoscope of different races, ethnic groups and cultures. Due to colonisation, different nationalities settled in the country and became part of its landscape. Also, South Africa comprises various families that are descendants of different racial groupings. First, most of the population comprises the indigenous African population with its various ethnic groups, namely, the San, Khoi, Venda, Tsonga, Ndebele, Tswana, Sotho, Zulu, Swati, Pedi and Xhosa. Second, there is a significant number of people of European descent, such as the Dutch, English, Belgians, Germans, French, Italians and Portuguese. Third, there are descendants of Jews, especially from Eastern Europe. Fourth, there are the Indians and Malay group (from present-day Indonesia), who are the descendants of former indentured labourers and Malay slaves, and fifth, the Chinese, who descend from Chinese labourers and merchants (Department of Social Development, 2011, p.  24). All these races are defined and held together by human relationships. Whether these relationships are healthy or not is a bone of contention, and this book will try to provide some explanations related to this. Given this diverse racial and ethnic profile, it can be argued that human relationships in South Africa are quite complex as they are predicated on different cultures, traditions, value systems and mores. They cannot be treated as homogenous but must be seen as diverse. This can be both exciting and challenging at the same time. If well managed, diverse human relationships have the potential to unleash the creative spirit of South Africans and propel the country into prosperity. The opposite to this is that if human relationships are undermined and corrupted, as in the past, they can be very dangerous to a country’s standing and result in all sorts of discord. Before colonisation, there was no country called ‘South Africa’. The name South Africa is a colonial invention. It is noteworthy that prior to colonial rule, the N. Noyoo (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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indigenous and pre-colonial societies had their own sociopolitical and economic systems. They also had their own religions and forms of worship and were informed by their Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). Therefore, pre-colonial societies were patterned according to the way IKS and other systems were created and utilised by their peoples. The Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) (2018) states that the earliest inhabitants of this land were Stone Age hunter-­ gatherers. They were the Khoikhoi and San. Although collectively known as the Khoisan, they are often thought of as distinct peoples. The former were those who, 2000 years ago or more, adopted a pastoralist life-style herding sheep and, later, cattle. Whereas the hunter-gatherers adapted to local environments and were scattered across the sub-continent, the herders sought out the pasturelands between modern-day Namibia and the Eastern Cape, which generally are near the coast (GCIS, 2018). At around the same time, Bantu-speaking agro-pastoralists began arriving in southern Africa, bringing with them an Iron Age culture and domesticated crops. After establishing themselves in the well-watered eastern coastal region of southern Africa, these farmers spread out across the interior plateau, or ‘Highveld’, where they adopted a more extensive cattle-farming culture. Kingdoms arose, based on control over cattle, which gave rise to systems of patronage and hence hierarchies of authority within communities (GCIS, 2018).

1.1  P  re-Colonial Human Relationships and Social Welfare Systems South Africa’s pre-colonial landscape was communal in character, whereby human relationships were defined by the notion of sharing and mutual obligation. Shoring up these human relationships were families which were extended by nature. Extended families encompassed immediate family members such as the father, mother and children, and then grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins. It is important to note that these family forms were also further defined along clan and kinship lines. In this sense, the family was not only the primary institution of socialisation, but also, it was a system that protected its members from adversities and life-cycle shocks. Furthermore, families were the cornerstones of indigenous social welfare systems. The former were predicated on the mutual-aid system which was defined by general ties of mutual obligation and reciprocity. Kinship ties were strong, and therefore, family members looked after each other. The old and infirm were protected from adverse social conditions by this family form. These systems are the ones that guaranteed and promoted healthy human relationships among the peoples of pre-colonial South Africa. There was a general understanding that people could not survive alone, and therefore, individualism did not resonate with South Africa’s pre-colonial era. Rather, what was very strong at the time was communal existence, whereby everyone in the society depended on each other. In this era, Ubuntu defined human relationships. Ubuntu is an African

1 Introduction


principle of caring for each other’s well-being through a spirit of mutual support. Thus, each individual’s humanity is ideally expressed through his or her relationship with others and theirs in turn through recognition of the individual’s humanity. Ubuntu means that people are people through other people. It also acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of every citizen (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997).

1.2  South Africa’s Historical Tangents It must be noted that the main theme of this book, which relates to healthy human relationships, is not only topical but points to their centrality in any society’s development. Thus, scholars and practitioners alike should be preoccupied with the task of understanding this phenomenon. Recasting light over this issue, especially in the case of South Africa, a country that has been in transition from colonialism and apartheid, to democracy, in the last 26 years, is crucial. In this text, it is argued that healthy human relationships should be taken as the pillars of South Africa’s well-­ being and development in the democratic era. Also, it is noted in the book that South Africa’s development or stability is dependent on the fact that it has healthy human relationships while bearing in mind that if they are not existing then the country will find it difficult to prosper. To this end, human relationships should be harnessed, strengthened and nurtured by both the state and civil society, and then made healthy by the former as well as the citizens of South Africa. Therefore, the topics covered in this book are very important to the country and beyond, and they need to be examined by social scientists who are both academics and practitioners. Even if they are contemporaneous, they have antecedents in the country’s history, which the authors of the chapter constantly refer to. Indeed, for slightly over 350 years, black South Africans disproportionately witnessed the most gruesome acts of violence, oppression and dehumanisation, which were perpetrated by a colonising and occupying force. In this book, the term black refers to the indigenous African population, which constitutes the majority people of this country as well as ‘Coloureds’ or mixed-raced persons and Indians. Regarding the colonisation of South Africa, it can be noted that this form of occupation was somewhat unique from the conventional colonialism that was obtaining, at the time, in almost all of Africa and Asia. Hence, colonialism in South Africa can be referred to as colonialism of a special type. Colonialism of a special type defines the coexistence and articulation of a colonial relation between black and white people and a developed capitalist economy within the confines of a single national state (Wolpe, 1988). This is a form of internal colonialism. To this effect, internal colonialism owed its origins to the ‘decolonisation’ of South Africa in 1910, when the Union of South Africa came into being as an ‘independent state’ because of the South African Act, which was passed by the British Parliament in 1909. The reality, however, was that national sovereignty was vested in a white state and racially exclusive system (Wolpe, 1988, p. 29). What was ‘special’ or different about the colonial system as it obtained in


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South Africa was that there was no spatial separation between the colonising power (the white minority state) and the colonised black people. But in every respect, the features of classic colonialism were the hallmark of the relations that obtained between the black majority and white minority. The special features of South Africa’s internal colonialism were compounded by the fact that the white South African state, Parliament and government were juridically independent of any metropolitan country and had a sovereignty legally vested in them by various Acts of the British government, according to the African National Congress (ANC) (1987, p. 1). In addition, the way this type of colonialism was enforced and entrenched in South Africa was through highly draconian means, with the former’s key attribute being the annexation of the indigenous people’s lands, accompanied by high levels of violence and mass incarceration of blacks. Arguably, the initial phase of establishing European settlements sowed the seeds for corrosive patterns of human relationships which still exist today. These were and are exemplified in social challenges such as racism, ethnicity, gender discrimination, xenophobia, among others. This book’s chapters cover the foregoing and other wide-ranging issues. It is noteworthy that human relationships, whether they are healthy or corrosive, need to be located in the tangents of South Africa’s history, and this book’s discussions continuously bring this issue to the fore. Arguably, one of the most divisive issues in the history of South Africa and which continues to polarise the country in contemporary times is land. Due to colonial conquest and subjugation, the land of the majority African people was forcefully taken from them. To this effect, land dispossession in South Africa was facilitated via the Natives Land Act of 1913. According to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) (2020), the Act became law on 19 June 1913 and had limited African land ownership to 7% and later 13% through unjust laws such as the 1936 Native Trust and Land Act of South Africa. The Act restricted black people from buying or occupying land except as employees of a white master. Also, it opened the door for white ownership of 87% of land, leaving black people to scramble for what was left. In 1948 and after, the apartheid government began the mass relocation of black people to the poor so-called Homelands and to poorly planned and serviced townships. No longer able to provide for themselves and their families, people were forced to look for work far away from their homes. This marked the beginning of socio-economic challenges the country is facing today such as landlessness, poverty and inequality. The Land Act was finally repealed when the Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act of 1991 (Act No. 108 of 1991) came into force on 30 June 1991 (RSA, 2020). This aforementioned unjust law was the centre piece of the colonial and apartheid project as it built the foundation upon which subsequent racist laws that separated the races were anchored, for instance, the Group Areas Act of 1950. It also gave credence to the creation of so-called Homelands or ‘Bantustans’ where Africans were cramped into unproductive and economically depressed areas which served as reservoirs for cheap labour. It can be speculated that in these places, establishing and maintaining healthy human relationships was a challenge because they were created not to have such positive outcomes. Due to their unconducive living conditions that militated against proper socialisation and healthy social interaction,

1 Introduction


blacks, especially Africans, were disadvantaged in all respects and, therefore, could not adequately promote healthy human relationships in their communities. Arguably, the defining and patterning of human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa are to a greater extent still influenced by the way the land of the indigenous population was annexed, that is, through violent conquest. To date, the bulk of South Africa’s human relationships are typified by high levels of violence, distrust and rancour. This fluid social setting is where social ills and various forms of abuse thrive. Therefore, it is important to bear in mind that the cited history of conquest, oppression and land dispossession gave birth to unhealthy human relationships which weigh against national efforts aimed at building strong communities, families and engendering national social cohesion, among others. In addition, the above-mentioned history has translated into day-to-day unequal and unhealthy relationships manifesting across the social, economic, political, race, class and gender divides. Therefore, healthy human relationships are in most instances, not a natural occurrence, more so in a country, like South Africa, with such a tortuous past. Rather, healthy human relationships have to be deliberately engendered and then nurtured by all in society, especially by the government and social service professions. Hence, when South Africa became a democratic country in 1994, it was crucial for the new African National Congress (ANC) government to begin building a nation which was non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous; which was based on justice, equality, the rule of law and informed by the notion of the inalienable human rights of all as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 (Act 108) secures and gives meaning to the promotion of healthy human relationships in the country. It is the supreme law of South Africa. It was approved by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996 and enacted on 4 February 1997. The Constitution has a Bill of Rights that entrenches socio-economic rights. To this end, Section 26 focusses on the right to adequate housing and Section 27 entrenches the right to health-care, food, water and social security. Section 29 of the Constitution proclaims that everyone has a right to basic education, including adult education and further education. However, the provisions in these sections of the Constitution are subject to the state taking reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of the rights enshrined in the former. Previously, the Interim Constitution of 1993 served to guide the country’s transition to democracy. For a quarter century, South Africa has sought to create an inclusive society through various macro policies, legislation, and individual and community interventions. The ANC-led government has pursued actions and initiatives, in the same period, to make South Africa a truly free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and successful country. This stance was derived from the long and protracted liberation struggle which was waged by the ANC and other liberation movements. The decision to organise and mobilise against colonial rule was taken by Africans after their land was annexed and all their civil liberties curtailed. After this, the ANC was formed on 8 January 1912, to fight against colonial occupation and subjugation. For generations, the ANC and other progressive formations in the country which were


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collectively referred to as the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM) waged a spirited struggle against colonialism and apartheid which eventually gave birth to a new democratic dispensation in 1994. However, despite the country attaining its freedom, it can be argued that many South Africans are not truly free as they remain encumbered by various social ills, such as gender-based violence, abuse of children, crime and violence, which not only heavily weigh on the quality of human relationships in contemporary times, but more importantly, which were inherited from the eras of colonialism and apartheid. Due to the foregoing history, the country is facing a lot of challenges because in the main, human relationships are not as healthy as they should be. Indeed, South Africa cannot move forward without fostering and maintaining healthy human relationships. It can be argued that human relationships in South Africa are still, to a larger extent, influenced by its past. Today’s human relationships are inextricably bound up with the country’s history of colonial oppression and apartheid subjugation. To say that South Africa’s past is riddled with many violations of people’s rights and dignities is an understatement. This is because South Africa was brutally colonised by European forces that sought to impose their will on various indigenous polities, as earlier observed. It can be speculated that this past of colonialism corrupted and undermined healthy human relationships in fundamental ways. For example, race was one issue that was weaponised by the colonial and apartheid systems, and to date, it stands out as a major stumbling block in the building of a non-racial society. This issue is discussed at length in Chap. 2 of this book. Ironically, 26 years into democracy, racism is actually on the rise across the country. Racism and racist acts have been detrimental to the safety and well-being of especially blacks, and it seems that the main perpetrators of racist acts are whites. Nevertheless, it is safe to assert that South Africa has undergone a lot of changes and transformations in the last 26 years, and many of the former have positively altered the lives of the citizens of this country. South Africa is in many respects different and qualitatively better from what it was in 1994. It is now a Constitutional democracy with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary. The National, Provincial and Local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own spheres and are defined in the Constitution as distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. These positive strides were made in the country due to the work of the governing party, the ANC and civil society formations. More importantly, the first African president to be elected in the country after apartheid, Nelson Mandela, was emphatic on this issue, and went out of his way to make sure that the nation was healed and reconciled. To this effect, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established in 1995. Recognising that gross human rights violations and atrocities had been committed during the apartheid period, the Government of National Unity (GNU) established the TRC. The TRC sought to uncover the truth about past violations of human rights, facilitate reconciliation and grant amnesty, provided that perpetrators fully disclosed politically motivated crimes and provided evidence that led to investigations and prosecutions. The Commission recognised that there had to be reparation in acknowledgement of what people had endured and a commitment to ensuring such violations did not

1 Introduction


occur again. Following public hearings, reparations were paid out to victims of gross violations; programmes and scholarships were established in honour of people who had lost their lives; counselling and other forms of support were provided; and amnesty was granted where appropriate (The Presidency, 2014). Also, in attempting to erase the legacy of colonialism and apartheid, through various interventions and policies, the new Government adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)  – an integrated, coherent, socio-economic policy framework that sought to mobilise both the people and the country’s resources towards the final eradication of apartheid, and the building of a democratic, non-­ racial and non-sexist society (ANC, 1994). In summing up the transformation that had unfolded in South Africa, after the fall of apartheid, the Presidency (2014, p. 20) reports: The country’s governance landscape has been significantly transformed since 1994. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) provided the foundations for building a democratic and inclusive state and is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world. Apartheid laws were repealed, and a Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, guaranteeing all citizens’ socio-economic and human rights. Independent institutions were established under Chapter 9 of the Constitution to strengthen accountability, safeguard democracy and build a responsive state. An independent judiciary and the constitutional freedom of speech and assembly were legally established. This has enabled citizens to pursue their political views and ideals freely and to trust the decisions of the judicial system.

1.3  Contemporary Sociopolitical and Economic Trends After providing the country’s historical background, it is important to highlight the current sociopolitical and economic situation. For starters, a focus on the economy is imperative as everything in the country is dependent on a robust economy. It can be seen that South Africa’s economy has not performed well in the last decade. The economy has contracted and underperformed for a significant period after 1994. The economy sharply contracted by 3.2% in the first 3 months of 2019. This decline is the biggest quarterly fall in economic activity since the first quarter of 2009, when the economy  – under strain from the global financial crisis  – tumbled by 6.1% according to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) (2019a). The economy’s lacklustre showing is to a large extent influenced by an extremely skewed economy that does not favour the poor and marginalised, who constitute the majority of the country. For instance, South Africa remains a dual economy with one of the highest inequality rates in the world and with a consumption expenditure Gini coefficient of 0.63 in 2015. Inequality has been persistent, having increased from 0.61 in 1996, and it has not tapered off. High inequality is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and the nature of economic growth, which is not pro-poor and does not generate enough jobs (World Bank, 2018). Furthermore, inequality in wealth is even higher: the richest 10% of the population held around 71% of net wealth in 2015, while the bottom 60% held 7% of the net wealth. Intergenerational mobility is low meaning inequalities are passed down from generation to generation, with little change in inequality


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over time. Not only does South Africa lag its peers on levels of inequality and poverty, but also when it comes to the inclusiveness of consumption growth (World Bank, 2018). Notably, compounding inequality is the ubiquitous poverty in the country and unemployment that have encumbered South Africa’s post-apartheid development endeavours. According to the World Bank (2018), nearly half of the population of South Africa is considered chronically poor. This section of the population is characterised by high poverty persistence. A second segment of the population, known as the transient poor, is the one that has an above average chance of falling into poverty. A third, the non-poor but vulnerable, face above average risks of slipping into poverty though their basic needs are currently being met. These latter two groups make up 27% of the population. Combining these two groups with the chronic poor suggests that for about 76% of the population, poverty is a constant threat in South African citizens’ daily lives. Another contemporary trend is the high unemployment levels in the country. South Africa’s unemployment rate increased to 27.6% in the first quarter of 2019. The unemployment rate among adults (aged 35–64 years) was 18.0% during this period, while the employment-to-population ratio and labour force participation rate were 57.4% and 70.0%, respectively, for this group. The situation seems bleak for the youth (aged 15–34  years) as they account for 63.4% of the total number of unemployed persons. In this regard, almost four in every 10 young people in the labour force did not have a job, and with the unemployment rate within this group at 39.6% in the first quarter of 2019. Just under 30% of the youth have jobs and about half of them (48.8%) participate in the labour market (StatsSA, 2019b). All these cited forces impinge upon human relationships.

1.4  Conceptual and Theoretical Premises of This Book This book is informed by social work and social development perspectives. They form the theoretical foundations of the discussions of the various chapters. Social work partly informs the perspectives of this book. Social work practice involves interactions with and between people, which are influenced by each person’s life course and their experience and perceptions about their own life. The social work profession is based on the supposition that people can be helped and supported to change and grow as a result of their experiences (Walker, 2017). This book adopts a global definition of social work which was approved by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) at their General Assembly in July 2014. According to the IFSW and IASSW (2014), social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous

1 Introduction


knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance well-being. Social work was imported from Europe to Africa and the developing world by the missionaries and colonial authorities. Due to this, it has at times found itself not being in synch with indigenous helping systems which are informed by local values and not European or western ones. Social work in South Africa is further complicated by its links to the apartheid state and the welfare system of the past, which was informed by a racist ethos. In its quest to institute so-called separate development, between the races and amongst the different ethnic groups, the apartheid state used social workers to implement its policies and laws. Thus, welfare organisations were subsidised to meet the needs of the exclusive white population on behalf of the apartheid state. In this atmosphere, social work education was also not insulated from the agenda of the apartheid state. In fact, social work training was skewed towards the maintenance of the status quo of colonial apartheid and did not provide practitioners with the relevant skills to deal with the problems of the majority African population which was mainly disempowered and disenfranchised (Mamphiswana & Noyoo, 2000). In the last 26  years, strides have been made to transform the social work practice and education landscape. However, there are still challenges, and thus, some scholars, practitioners and students are calling for the decolonisation of South African social work curricula. In this vein, Noyoo (2019) asserts that the decolonisation of social work should be engaged with the task of re-visiting the contextual and historical realities of South Africa (and by extension, of Africa). Hence, social work needs not only to be relevant but also has to adapt to the local African terrain, with all its complexity and diversity. It must be responsive to the needs of the vast majority of Africans who are marginalised, poor and voiceless. Social work education and training should be underpinned by Afrocentric and African-centred knowledge systems and knowledge bases. Hence, decolonisation of social work must be anchored on the development of theories, models and intervention methods that are underpinned by African value systems (Noyoo, 2019). Social development is another practice approach that informs the analyses and discussions in the different chapters of this book. However, it must be noted that definitions of  social development are varied and many, and they may be flexibly grouped under three categories depending on the approach they follow. One category of definitions puts an emphasis on, among other things, systematic planning and the link between social and economic development. A second group of definitions shows that bringing about structural change is the core element of social development, and a third focus is on realising human potential, meeting needs of the community population and achieving a satisfactory quality of life (Pawar, 2014). Social development is an approach that interweaves social and economic dimensions of development for a holistic and comprehensive process of development (Midgely, 1995). It is, therefore, important that social policies and economic policies reinforced each other for the ultimate development of South Africa. The two are mutually inclusive and not exclusive. Social development recognises the roles that governments and civil society formations are expected to play in raising the quality of life of the citizens. Thus, it is concerned with processes of change that lead to


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improvements in human well-being, social relations and social institutions, and that are equitable, sustainable and compatible with principles of democratic governance and social justice. It puts emphasis on social relations, institutional arrangements and political processes that are central to efforts to achieve desirable development outcomes, according to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) (2011). Social work and social development are human-centred praxes and approaches. Consequently, they are carried out within a network of human relationships. Indeed, it is human relationships and the many types of problems associated with them that are usually at the centre of social workers’ professional tasks and social development practitioners’ interventions. And it is this relational dimension in social work practice which often draws students into making it their career – fulfilling their wish to ‘work with people’. Relationships require social workers to use themselves  – using the self, in the sense meant here, requires an enhanced knowledge of the self that is being used (Hennessaey, 2011). A relationship involves a series of interactions between individuals who know each other, such that each interaction is affected by preceding ones and usually by the expectation of future interactions. Neither interactions nor relationships can occur without behaviour, but of course, behaviour is not all: both are accompanied by emotions, hopes, regrets, wishes and so on. These emotional and cognitive concomitants may persist between the interactions of a relationship and play an important role in its persistence (Hinde, 1996, p. 9). Following Reis (2009, p. xiiii), it is noted here that: Although lay people and scholars alike have been interested in human relationships since at least the beginning of recorded history, it is only in the past three decades, with the emergence of what has come to be called Relationship Science, that a systematic attention across diverse disciplines has kindled tremendous growth in research and theory about human relationships. This work takes as its starting point the idea that relationships are fundamental to nearly all domains of human activity, from birth to death. When people participate in healthy, satisfying relationships, they live, work and learn more effectively. When relationships are distressed or dysfunctional, people are less happy, less healthy, and less productive. Few aspects of human experience have as broad or as deep effects on our lives as relationships do. When we refer to relationships, we mean the full gamut of human associations in which behaviour is influenced by the real or imagined presence of another person with whom one has interacted in the past and expects to interact in the future.

This book endorses the foregoing perspective relating to human relationships. Therefore, the focus of the chapters is not just on human relationships but on healthy human relationships. They are also preoccupied with the task of trying to find out and suggest how social work and social development approaches can engender healthy human relationships in South Africa. The Lexico Oxford Dictionary online (2020) refers to something that is healthy as: ‘In a good physical or mental condition; in good health’. Therefore, social work and social development should be aiming at making human relationships to be in a good condition. Furthermore, it must be noted that South Africa does not exist in isolation, from the rest of the world, and thus, the next section focuses on the role of global dimensions in shaping local conditions and also on how the latter respond to the former.

1 Introduction


1.5  Global Dimensions While this work focusses on South Africa, it is not oblivious to global dimensions and how they impact on local developments. As this book is being finalised, the world is gripped with fear and panic as the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has spread to all continents, with South Africa recording its first cases already. After starting in the city of Wuhan in China, the virus quickly spread to other parts of the world. The rapid spread of this disease and its severity have confounded both medical experts and national governments. So far, there is no known cure for this pandemic, which was declared as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Global deaths from this pandemic are already in their thousands with many individuals being infected in the process. This pandemic has no class or status boundaries, for example, Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was tested positive for the COVID-19, and thereafter, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, reported that he had tested positive. Also, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justine Trudeau, and his wife, Sophie, tested positive for the virus and put themselves in self-quarantine. Similarly, Tom Hanks, the American movie superstar, and his wife Rita Wilson also tested positive for the virus. Previously, Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Hence, Italy is totally locked down due to the infections and deaths that kept rising and thus leaving the authorities with no other choice. This country is the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe. South Africa begun its 21-day shut down from Midnight, Thursday, 26 March, to Thursday, 16 April 2020. With infections rising to over 1000 and the country recording its first two deaths, from the pandemic on the first day of the lockdown, the situation remains extremely dire. The rapid rate of infections across the globe can be attributed to mainly globalisation, as the world is now so interconnected than before. Indeed, what happens in one part of the globe is bound to affect several countries elsewhere. Therefore, globalisation is real, and it is not just an abstract construct. In the light of this book, it can be asserted that globalisation does directly or indirectly impact on human relationships and even influences the way they are patterned. It is important to note that the world is trying to respond to or meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs (2030 Agenda) were adopted by all United Nations states in 2015. There are 17 SDGs which serve as an urgent call for action by countries of the world in a global partnership. The SDGs recognise that ending poverty and other forms of deprivation must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, enhance economic growth and respond to the challenges associated with climate change. In the same vein, sight must not be lost of the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063, which is anchored by inter alia: mobilisation of the people and their ownership of continental programmes; the principle of self-reliance and Africa financing its own development; the importance of capable, inclusive and accountable states and institutions at all levels, and in all spheres; and the critical role of Regional Economic Communities as building blocks for continental unity.


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1.6  Purpose of This Book This book is a collection of chapters that discuss, interrogate and endeavour to answer the question of promoting healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. It is a text that derives its title from the global social work theme of 2019. This theme was unpacked and discussed by delegates who were mainly social work educators at a conference last year. To this end, in August 2019, the Department of Social Development and the University of Cape Town (UCT) in conjunction with the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions (ASASWEI) hosted a Social Work Conference for three days, namely, 27, 28, 29. Its overarching theme was Promoting healthy human relationships in line with both the global and national social work themes for the year. The author was the co-chair of this conference with the then President and now immediate past president of ASASWEI. The theme for the conference was aligned with the fourth theme of the Global Agenda for Social Work, viz: Promoting the importance of human relationships. In its call for papers, the Chair and Co-Chair of the conference noted: The profession of social work has always championed the centrality of human relationships, being less interested in the internal functioning of people and more interested in their interpersonal functioning within broader structures and forces. In contemporary South Africa, human relationships are under considerable threat. Despite the 1994 commitment to an inclusive and human-rights-based democracy, human relationships remain strained. This is particularly evident in the racial relations between black and white South Africans, but also in the relations between South Africans and citizens of other countries in Africa, between women and men and between rich and poor. The ideals of Ubuntu – that recognise and cherish the full humanity of all other people, as part of a large family – are not fully realisable in daily life (van Breda & Noyoo, 2019, p. 1).

Thus, the chapters in this book were presented first as papers at the said conference and then reworked into chapters for purposes of this book. Thus, this book’s rationale partly hinges on the proffered backdrop which served as the rationale for the 2019 social work conference at UCT. Therefore, some of the presented papers, at the said conference, which were re-worked into chapters, are brought together, for the objectives of this edited book. This text critically analyses the notion of promoting healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa, specifically from social work and social development perspectives. Critically, this edited book was conceptualised and finalised at a time when South Africa was and is still reeling from high incidences of femicide, gender-based violence and the abuse of children, as well as xenophobic violent attacks, perpetrated against mainly sub-Saharan African refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. In this regard, this book not only explores the human relationships pertaining to the aforementioned areas but other sectors of society. Also, it does not solely discuss human relationships, but healthy human relationships and why they are important for a democratic and transforming South Africa. Crucially, it seeks to proffer or suggest some solutions to the ubiquitous societal ills in South Africa that emanate from either corrosive or broken human relationships.

1 Introduction


1.7  Chapters of This Book The chapters of this book are divided into five parts with the Introduction and Overview serving as Chap. 1 of the text. Part I provides the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings as well as overview of the book. This serves as its conceptual foundation. The conceptual and theoretical anchors of the book are put forward in this section to, among other issues, guide its discussions. This section is written by Ndangwa Noyoo. Part II focusses on people-to-people interactions inherent in the South African society while casting some light on the different race, cultural, class and other issues which continue to shape and mould South Africa’s human relationships. Among other things, it shows how the breakdown or erosion of healthy human relationships in the cited areas results in social ills. The chapters in this section search for social work and social development solutions that can bring forth healthy human relationships in South Africa. It comprises Chaps. 2, 3, 4 and 5. Part II begins with Chap. 2 where Ndangwa Noyoo discusses resurgent racism and the need for healthy human relationships in South Africa. He argues in the chapter that after 26 years of democracy, there is an upsurge in racism and racist acts across the country, with some incidences resulting in the maiming and deaths of mainly Africans by whites. He examines this rising racism in the country and puts forward social work approaches as solutions that could tackle this trend and foster as well as strengthen healthy human relationships in South Africa. In Chap. 3, Lungile MabundzaDlamini and Boitumelo Seepamore discuss gender and the promotion of healthy human relationships in South Africa. They note that although African communities have always been regarded as respectful of the roles between men and women, the hierarchical division of labour continues to manifest in unequal power relations between genders. They show how social work can help to promote healthy human relationships in the country from a gender perspective. Chance Chagunda discusses in Chap. 4 the promotion of healthy human relationships with sub-Saharan African refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. He argues that refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan African countries have experienced hardships and unnecessary exposure to violent attacks by some South Africans, which have hindered their healthy human relationships. He notes that it is important to enhance healthy human relationships mostly among vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers and refugees, as this is one catalyst for social development and social cohesion with locals. In Chap. 5, Ndangwa Noyoo, Thabisa Matsea and Nomcebo Dlamini explore the issue of sub-Saharan immigrants and the promotion of healthy human relationships. They also investigate how healthy human relationships can be promoted between sub-Saharan immigrants and locals from a social work perspective. They then propose social work interventions to foster healthy interactions and ultimately healthy human relationships between sub-Saharan immigrants and locals. Part III discusses issues related to individuals, families, groups, and communities and vulnerability. It begins with Chap. 6 which focuses on promoting healthy human relationships for children in post-apartheid South Africa. This chapter authored by


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Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk and Eric Atmore reviews literature on the importance of healthy human relationships for children in contemporary South Africa and explores contextual factors that foster and hinder these bonds. It also looks at practical social development solutions to promote healthy caregiver–child relationships. In Chap. 7, Mziwandile Sobantu sheds light on the question of promoting healthy human relationships for older persons while using a social development perspective. He argues that social work interventions that are anchored on the social development approach are more likely to create healthy partnerships, link older persons to the broader society and the economy and advocate rights-based interventions for senior citizens. Laetitia Petersen advances the notion of fostering healthy human relationships with people with disabilities in post-apartheid South Africa in Chap. 8. She argues that the post-apartheid democratic dispensation responded to the plight of disabled persons by raising their quality of life through various policy and legislative instruments. In driving her point home, she proffers a historic overview. Francine Julia Masson explores in Chap. 9 the importance of the family unit in developing future healthy human relationships in a traumatised society. Different theories and discourses about family structure and functioning are provided in relation to the South African context. She also highlights the role of the government, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, as well as social work practitioners in promoting healthy families and thus healthy human relationships. In Chap. 10, Kefilwe Johanna Ditlhake and Ntandoyenkosi Maphosa unpack the issue of fostering healthy human relationships at a community level in post-apartheid South Africa. These authors focus on community development efforts that enhance healthy community social relationships through the development of social capital, formal and informal associations in townships and villages, and community social networks or virtual communities. Recommendations for macro social work practice in pioneering innovative solutions to enhance relational-oriented communities are provided towards the end of the chapter. Thulane Gxubane closes Part III with Chap. 11 that focusses on a developmental social work practice framework that can help to promote healthy human relationships for and amongst youth in South Africa. It explores and cites the effects of absent fathers, poverty and unemployment, youth gangs, substance abuse and crime, as some of the major sources of conflict which generally contribute to difficult human relationships. He advances a developmental and restorative practice framework which could promote resilience and healthy human relationships for and among youth. Part IV which focusses on policy and legislation finalises the book’s discussion. It begins with Chap. 12, where Ndangwa Noyoo explores how social policy, social welfare, social security and social work have helped to spearhead the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. Chance Chagunda argues in Chap. 13 that social protection has a potential to promote healthy human relationships in the country. He does this by presenting historical evidence that traces the evolution of the social protection agenda in post-1994. He then demonstrates how the post-apartheid government promoted healthy human relationships through social protection. In Chap. 14, Mpumelelo E.  Ncube elucidates how developmental social work practice and social welfare perspectives have

1 Introduction


been critical in building healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. Ndangwa Noyoo sums up and concludes the book’s discussions in the final chapter, which is the Conclusion.

1.8  Conclusion The chapters in this book bring forth fresh perspectives pertaining to the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. They shed light on many positive developments since the advent of democracy in 1994. The chapters also uncover certain forces that impede or nurture healthy human relationships in South Africa, while relying on the bodies of knowledge of social work and social development. The theoretical frameworks of the former also help to sharpen the authors’ tools of critical analysis. In this regard, this edited book examines and discusses human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa, from social work and social development perspectives. More importantly, this endeavour is undertaken while bearing in mind the country’s conflictual and divisive past which was informed by colonialism and apartheid. This book’s approach endeavours to bring to light many issues, prospects and challenges in regard to the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa.

References African National Congress (ANC). (1987). Apartheid South Africa: Colonialism of a special type. Retrieved from African National Congress (ANC). (1994). The reconstruction and development programme. Johannesburg, South Africa: Umanyo. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2011). Green paper on families: Promoting family life and strengthening families in South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: DSD. Government Communications and Information System (GCIS). (2018). South African Yearbook. Pretoria, South Africa: GCIS. Hennessaey, R. (2011). Relationship skills in social work. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications. Hinde, R. A. (1996). Describing relationships. In A. E. Auhagen & M. von Salisch (Eds.), The diversity of human relationships (pp. 1–35). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)/International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). (2014). Global definition of Social Work. Retrieved from https://www.ifsw. org/what-is-social-work/global-definition-of-social-work/ Lexico Oxford Dictionary online. (2020). Healthy. Retrieved from definition/healthy Mamphiswana, D., & Noyoo, N. (2000). Social work education in a changing socio-political and economic dispensation: Perspectives from South Africa. International Social Work, 43(1), 21–32. Midgley, J. (1995). Social development: The developmental perspective in social welfare. London: SAGE Publications.


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Ministry of Welfare & Population Development. (1997). White paper for social welfare. Government Gazette, Vol. 386, No. 18166 (8 August). Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Noyoo, N. (2019). Decolonising social work practice and social work education in post-colonial Africa. In K. Kliebl, R. Lutz, N. Noyoo, B. Bunk, A. Dittmann, & B. Seepamore (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of post-colonial social work (pp. 261–268). London: Routledge. Pawar, M. (2014). Social and community development practice. New Delhi, India: SAGE Publication. Reis, H. T. (2009). Encyclopedia of human relationships. London: SAGE Publication. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (2020). 1913 Natives Land Act Centenary. Retrieved from https:// Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2019a). Economy tumbles in the first quarter. Retrieved from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2019b). Quarterly labour force survey. Pretoria, South Africa: StatsSA. The Presidency. (2014). Twenty-year review. Pretoria, South Africa: The Presidency. The World Bank. (2018). Overcoming poverty and inequality in South Africa: An assessment of drivers, constraints, and opportunities. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). (2011). Social development in an uncertain world: UNRISD Research Agenda 2010-2014. Geneva, Switzerland: UNRISD. van Breda, A. D., & Noyoo, N. (2019). Welcome from the conference chairpersons. In ASASWEI Social Work Conference 2019 – Conference Programmes and Abstracts. Unpublished. Walker, J. (2017). Social work and human development (5th ed.). London: SAGE Publication. Wolpe, H. (1988). Race, class & the apartheid state. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Part II

Interpersonal Relationships

Chapter 2

Resurgent Racism in Post-Apartheid South Africa and the Need to Promote Healthy Human Relationships Ndangwa Noyoo

2.1  Introduction South Africa is a country that has undergone significant changes since the advent of democracy in 1994. Such transformation is evident in race relations, where there has been more integration of the different races, especially between whites and blacks. Furthermore, there have been a lot of important developments that have cemented the dignity and worth of the country’s citizens. To this end, various policies and legislation have been passed to secure the rights of South Africans with all forms of discrimination being outlawed. Despite the country making these positive strides, there seems to be regression in human relationships, especially when it comes to the question of race. This chapter addresses itself to the problem of resurgent racism in South Africa, after 26 years of democracy. The chapter contends that there seems to be a general spike in racism and racist incidences across the country in the last couple of years. What is perplexing to South Africans and especially policy-makers and practitioners such as social workers is that this regression in human relationships has become apparent after two decades of democracy. Equally disconcerting is the fact that this problem is unfolding after so much work went into engendering reconciliation, social cohesion and nation-building in past decades. What this means is that there is a sizeable number of South Africans who have not moved with the times and are still stuck in the past. Some commentators have intimated that these racist incidences have always been there in South Africa and that

N. Noyoo (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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they only seem ubiquitous these days because there is now social media and smart phones, which can capture racist incidences in real time and then disseminate them to a wider audience in the country and around the world. As this chapter was being finalised, the former and last president of the apartheid government, F.W. de Kerk had embroiled himself in a controversy which stemmed from his assertions which he made in a television interview. These sentiments were attributed to apartheid. According to de Klerk, apartheid was not a crime against humanity, despite the United Nations (UN) declaring it as such, in 1973. After de Klerk made these pronouncements, many South Africans were outraged and called for his Nobel Peace Prize, which he won together with the former and late president, Nelson Mandela, in 1994, to be withdrawn. Some have since then been waging a campaign to have his Nobel Peace Prize declared null and void. After this national backlash, de Klerk apologised to the nation through his foundation. Nevertheless, many black South Africans were not convinced that the apology was genuine. They also found it disingenuous, on his part, to apologise through his foundation. Many black South Africans had demanded that he personally apologises to the nation – before they could even consider his apology. This last sitting president, of the apartheid era, not only opened old wounds but also had highlighted a behavioural pattern that is quite prevalent among white South Africans – of outrightly denying that apartheid was ‘not so bad’, or that they had not aided and abetted this heinous crime against humanity. Some have gone out of their way to sanitise the apartheid state and its abhorrent actions. This denialism or ‘amnesia’, as regards apartheid, has sharply brought to the centre stage of South African politics and human relationships the unfinished business of national reconciliation and nation-building. Indeed, there seems to be an outright disregard by some white South Africans towards other races as they still want to continue to adhere to the colonial and apartheid precepts and ethos of racism, in dealing with people who are not from their race. To come to grips with this puzzling trend in South Africa and the belligerence on the part of some white South Africans, after a quarter century of democratic rule, this chapter will be engaged in three tasks. First, it will bring forth the conceptual premises of the chapter which focus on racism and the notion of human relationships and specifically, healthy human relationships. Perspectives on the former will be discussed and, thereafter, located in the South African context. Second, the chapter will be invested in teasing out historical forces of racism in South Africa, by shedding some light on the way racism was conceptualised and reinforced for many centuries, first by colonial rule and later through the apartheid system. It will also attempt to show how racism became embedded in the social fabric of South Africa and why it is now rebounding. The third part of the chapter will attempt to show how racism can be tackled in contemporary South Africa through the promotion of healthy human relationships. It will argue that social work should be at the forefront of promoting healthy human relationships that diminish or eradicate racism.

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2.2  Tracing and Unpacking Racism The main issue that is under scrutiny in this chapter is racism. It is important to mention that racism exists all over the world and is not only found in South Africa. However, what makes racism to become prominent in South Africa, unlike in other African countries, for instance, is its unique history of colonialism of a special type, as mentioned and explained in the introduction of this book. This is also linked to a significant number of individuals who practise racism. Therefore, racism can be seen as a type of human relationship that forces those who are at its receiving end, to think and believe that they are indeed inferior. This can be achieved through various measures such as subjugation, brainwashing and indoctrination, among others. Pillay (2017, p. 6) argues that in the South African context, it was the affirmation and imposition of whiteness as the superior pigmentation and population group, at the extent of oppressing and dehumanising the black majority population, which led to black people actually believing that they were inferior human beings. The apartheid policy entrenched the protection of white rights embedded in political privilege, social advantage and economic domination. Economics was racialised not just in terms of production forms and processes but also in terms of distribution and consumption. Furthermore, the job market was systematically geared to protect the economic activity and sustainability of white people, observes Pillay (2017). Nevertheless, it can be speculated that racism has existed ever since different human races came into contact with each other. According to Dummett (2004), in many parts of the world, including the most developed countries, societies are torn by enmities that originate in racial, ethnic, tribal, national, class and religious differences. These are group enmities, and it is one part of their strange nature that they subsist between human groups that identify themselves and their targets, substantially discreet collectivities, although the concepts under which they do so are patently vague. The same author then observes that racism and the above associated concepts are complex and problematic phenomena. However, one of the earliest definitions of racism, dating back to the 1930s, but still prominent in the dictionaries, takes racism as principally an ideology, doctrine or set of beliefs that divides, classifies and scales humankind along the aforementioned categories (ethnic, tribal, national, class and religious differences) (Dummett, 2004, p.  10). Heuchan and Shukla (2018, p. 7) point out that racism is about prejudice and power. For example, if a white person discriminates against a person of colour, they are prejudiced and – what makes the difference – hold the social power in that exchange. Crucially, it needs to be noted that no amount of wealth, fame or status can completely shelter a person of colour from racism. The last point made by the former authors is of great significance, in that racism goes beyond class and that it can be taken as an attitude of supremacy which puts another race into a subordinate position through various means, such as coercion, suppression and total humiliation. Following Hoyt (2012, p. 227), it is noted here that terms are created to capture phenomena for which we need a frame, a handle by which to grasp and share understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this respect, racism is a term


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originally crafted to frame a phenomenon that, by the early part of the twentieth century (having emerged in the nineteenth-century enterprise of classifying peoples according to a racial hierarchy), was powerful, distinct and in need of nomenclature. The said author further explicates this issue in the following way: Originally the term racism was meant to stipulate a belief in essential biological and associated (social, intellectual, and so forth) differences between subgroups of human beings that rendered some subgroups superior or inferior to others. Since the stipulative definition of racism, some have advocated forcefully that the original definition should be made more narrow, precise, and limited in its use (a precising definition). This has led to lexical definitional confusion and conflict (Hoyt, 2012, p. 227).

In arriving at a definition of racism, that will also guide this chapter’s discussion, the following conceptual building blocks provided by Hoyt (2012, p. 225) are essential: Prejudice – preconceived opinion not based on reason or actual experience; bias, partiality. Racism – (original definition) the belief that members of a purported race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or other races. Racism is a particular form of prejudice defined by preconceived erroneous beliefs about race and members of racial groups.

It is also important to proffer some insights and lessons from other contexts, with similar historical trajectories of racism, in order to nuance this chapter’s analysis. This will be undertaken through a comparative enquiry of the United Sates of America’s (USA’s) race relations.

2.3  A Comparative Analysis In the case of the USA, a country that has not candidly dealt with its racist past, but one that prides itself as one of the most democratic countries in the world, and ‘leader of the free world’, racism and racist acts continue to oppress and denigrate people of colour in this country. This is a country where contemporary human relationships are tainted with racism. However, even after the abolition of slavery in 1833, African-Americans suffered the brunt of racism in the south for generations. Unsurprisingly, even during the progressive ‘New Deal’ social policies of the late 1930s under President Franklin, D. Roosevelt, African-Americans were overlooked. Lieberman (1995) argues that the history of American social policy creates a puzzle in that most, although not all, social policies have stigmatised and isolated their African-American beneficiaries. The policies of the Social Security Act (‘New Deal’) were created with similar racially relevant exclusions, which systematically kept African-Americans from receiving new benefits of this state intervention. It is therefore small wonder that racism is still visible and entrenched in the USA today. This is because it was institutionalised via a battery of policies and legislation, just as it was during colonial and apartheid rule in South Africa. However, the difference here is that those who institutionalised racism in South Africa were a minority population. Also, those who practise racism today are in the minority. However, their

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sense of entitlement stems from colonialism and apartheid which legitimised the dehumanisation of other people/races who were not white. When taking the case of F.W. de Kerk, which was explained earlier, and then juxtaposing it with the American contemporary situation, it will be discerned that there are not so many differences between the two contexts. The author, Robin DiAngelo (2019), notes that when white Americans are confronted with the reality of racism in the USA, they often deflect the issue. She notes that, in fact, the smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable to them – the suggestion that being white has meaning, often triggers a range of defensive responses. These include emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviours such as argumentation, silence and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. These responses work to reinstate white equilibrium as they repel challenge, return white people’s racial comfort and maintain their dominance within the racial hierarchy. This situation is similar to the one that is obtaining in South Africa where some white people are in denial and do not want to come to terms with the reality that racism was institutionalised and then brutally enforced by a police state during colonial and apartheid rule (DiAngelo, 2019). Furthermore, racism in the USA is not only systemic or institutionalised but also internalised by many people in the country. The way some white people react to the presence of African-Americans, especially in stressful or confrontational situations, is symptomatic of internalised racism. A good example of behaviour or attitudes stemming from the former is expressed in the ongoing killings of innocent African-Americans (especially males), by predominantly white police officers and other white people in the USA. This behaviour is not only shocking but extremely worrying to the outside world, and what is even more telling is that a significant number of white Americans seem numb to it. Furthermore, what is equally troubling is that African-Americans continue to be easily killed in a similar manner in previous epochs, especially in the 1960s and prior to this period, when the Ku Klux Klan and other white American mobs lynched black people any odd how. Despite having the country’s first biracial president, Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2017, the racial fault lines in the USA did not simply disappear and continue to exist today. Arguably, the new president, Donald Trump, has given credence to racism and legitimised it through his utterances and actions. However, it is important to also not only stress that black lives matter, but to acknowledge the fact that race relations in America are still patterned along the lines of the plantation slave master and slaves. This is because the power structure in the USA continues to be the domain of white people, especially white males. That is partially the reason why the police are so jittery whenever they come into contact or confront African-Americans, especially those who are assertive and invoke their citizenry rights, because black people still represent the ‘otherness’ or an ‘aberration’ of American society. In addition, African-Americans  experience structural-­ institutional racism that impedes them from accessing various opportunities and life chances. The outcomes of this type of racism are dire and have been laid bare by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is claiming a disproportionate number of fatalities in this community. Other minorities such as the Hispanics are also suffering the same fate.


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African-Americans are stopped and frisked by the police, especially when they are found walking or driving in certain neighbourhoods that are predominantly white because they symbolise a ‘runaway slave’ who should be on the ‘plantation’ and not roaming freely in America. In modern times, the plantation represents the ghettoes and ‘projects’ of America. Why should a simple traffic stop result in the death of an African-American in this day and age? Not in 1950, not in 1960, but in 2020? That is why Malcolm X was not only highly sceptical of American race relations but poured scorn on them.

2.4  Continuities with the Past In this section, it is imperative to highlight some racist incidences which were in the public domain to drive this chapter’s contentions home. Unfortunately, there is no other way to report them through euphemisms as they were publicised in newspapers and beamed on national television. They represent the realities of present-day South Africa, 26 years after democracy. The last and most public racist incidence, which caught South Africa’s attention, is one where a South African white man of Greek origin, Adam Catzavelos, posted a video on social media, where he referred to Africans as kaffirs – a racial slur which was used in the apartheid era to denigrate and humiliate Africans. While on holiday in Greece and relaxing on a beach, he remarked, along the lines, that it was really nice to see no kaffirs on the beach. Immediately after the video was posted, it caused national outrage, with structures such as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and political parties, such as the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) weighing in on this issue. Upon his return to South Africa, he was charged with hate speech and appeared before the country’s Equality Court. He was subsequently ordered to pay a fine of R150,000. This was after he offered a lengthy apology. The foregoing case and/or similar incidences have puzzled South Africans, whereby, seemingly, educated and young white South Africans are engaged in racist acts. In most instances, these racist expressions have happened without any provocation. Therefore, it can be seen that racism is something that is not isolated as there seems to be a general pattern that emerges upon closer scrutiny. What is worth noting as regards these racist acts is that they were mainly perpetrated by whites and a few black people. The key issue to take into consideration is that these incidents were in the public domain and had caused rifts across the race fault lines with many blacks taking strong exception to the blatant racism that was being expressed by white South Africans in a free South Africa. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning the fact that the internet and social media may have unencumbered some white South Africans to express themselves in the crudest manner. It can be argued that in all of South Africa’s post-apartheid era, this period had seen the notion of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ being called into serious question, in more ways than one. When reflecting on the American experience, it can be seen that the situation in South Africa was and is still different in that those who were and still are at the

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receiving end of racism are the majority peoples of the land. Black Africans were and are the indigenous people of South Africa, and they are the majority population group. However, they still bear the brunt of racism and racist acts in their land that is supposedly free. In this vein, it should be noted that racism does not only signify a state of mind denoting some form of superiority, but it is also a way of patterning and ordering a society, and in the case of South Africa, it was the colonial and apartheid societies where it was located. In this regard, it is important to explore this past of racism in order to understand why it continues to denude contemporary human relationships.

2.5  South Africa’s History of Racism The occupation and eventual colonisation of South Africa, and Southern Africa, by Europeans can be traced back to the rise of Portugal in maritime trade, in the late 1400s. This dominance came to pass when this country mastered the high seas with explorers setting out on voyages across the oceans to establish new trade routes. European nations had endeavoured to find an alternative route to Asia after the land routes to this continent had been closed off by the Ottoman Empire in present-day Turkey. Historical accounts show that Bartolomeu Dias was the first European to navigate the tip of Africa en route to Asia. However, this journey had resulted in a landing for fresh water and other fresh supplements. This was the beginning of Europeans’ incursions into Africa. Later, another Portuguese, Vasco da Gama sailed from his country and eventually reached India after having navigated the west coast of Africa. Afterwards, Spain followed suit, but it was Portugal that dominated the southern sea voyages. It was the Europeans who named the southernmost tip of Africa, the ‘Cape of Storms’, and later the ‘Cape of Good Hope’. Subsequently in 1652, the Dutch landed on the shores of what they named the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ and set out to colonise the area. Most likely, the area had an indigenous name as there were indigenous people residing in this area already. These were the Khoi and San people. Previously, the Portuguese had made a temporal stop on their way to Asia to trade in spices and gold among other items. Thus, the Dutch were the second Europeans to come to this part of Africa. The Dutch, through the Dutch East India Company (or Vereenigde Nederlandsche Ge-Octroyeerde Oost Indische Compagnie  – VOC), established settlements. This was the beginning of colonisation with land being at the centre of this process. Lester (1998) asserts that from 1657, the VOC allowed white farmers (free  burghers) to cultivate and trade on their own behalf. However, in 1679, free burghers, with slaves provided by the VOC, were allowed to disperse and farm beyond the area surrounding the VOC station. By 1700, the core western Cape farmers were increasing the production of wine, wheat and livestock, and they were investing their surpluses in slaves and more land, while trek boers, despite the presence of indigenous peoples, were continuing to occupy grazing land further to the east and resulting in conflict and warfare with the indigenous polities (Lester, 1998).


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Eventually, the Europeans who had earlier began trading with the Khoi and San people would change their tactics and annexed their lands and basically stole their livestock. The European settlers’ voracious appetite for land led them into further conflicts with other indigenous polities, and in the process forcibly seized their land and occupied it. In these interactions, with the local people, acrimonious patterns of interaction and unhealthy human relationships emerged. It can be surmised that racism was a direct off-shoot of European conquest of indigenous polities. Therefore, South Africa’s past is one that was predicated on racism which shaped and defined human relationships, slightly over 350 years. For the longer period of colonialism and apartheid rule, people could not interact freely across the race-­ lines. Magubane (1979) informs us that the plight of the black people of South Africa was (and still is) intimately bound up with the history of white settlement in their lands, and the South African social formation itself represented a stage in the evolution of the world capitalist system. He goes on to observe that the ideology of racism, called into life and fed by the expansionist and exploitative socio-economic relations of capitalist imperialism, became a permanent stimulus for the ordering of unequal and exploitative relations of production along ‘racial’ lines, and further demanded justification of these relations. The seemingly ‘autonomous’ existence of racism today does not lessen the fact that it was initiated by the needs of capitalist development or that these needs remain the dominant factor in racist societies (Magubane, 1979, p. 3). Therefore, racism and colonialism of a special type cannot be separated. This issue is again dissected by Magubane (1989, p. 13) in another study who notes: The social heritage of settler colonialism in South Africa was not merely a rigid structure of an elite of wealth, status and power at the apex, and at the bottom of a pyramid, a mass of poverty-stricken, marginal, powerless and subordinated people. Such societies have flourished everywhere. The tragedy of the colonial heritage was a social structure further stratified by colour and physiognomy  – by what anthropologists call phenotype: an elite of whites and a mass of people of colour – coloureds (mixed blood), Indians and Africans – in that ascending order. The British imperial bourgeoisie, like their North American counterparts had come to understand that a society may perpetuate social inequalities and injustices far more effectively when the maldistribution of income is buttressed by phenotype.

The issues raised above by Magubane (1989) are of critical importance in that they alert us to the fact that race became a yardstick for upward social mobility in South Africa and seems to do so in present times – albeit in subtle forms. In this regard, the post-apartheid political economy, which was inherited from colonialism and apartheid, continues to shape contemporary socio-political and economic trends. That is why it is difficult to easily erase racism, 26 years after apartheid. Again, it should be reiterated that racism is neither an abstraction; nor is it its own justification. The racial structure of the South African society arose from the severest exploitation and contempt, guaranteed by power. Anyone who wants to change the structure of racial oppression must understand its fundamental nature, its historical formation and its manipulation by the rulers. Racial oppression and class exploitation are inextricably intertwined in the modern world; they cannot be neatly

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separated for the sake of theoretical purity (Magubane, 1979, p. 15). Dugard (1989, p. 97) underscores Magubane’s analysis in this manner: South Africa and the struggle to advance human rights are inextricably linked. The Republic of South Africa has been singled out since the United Nations’ foundation as a principal violator of the human rights norms contained in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Repeated resolutions of both the U.N.  General Assembly and Security Council have called on the South African government to comply with international human rights standards. Within South Africa itself, opponents of the government have measured domestic law and policy against the human rights norms proclaimed in the international community. The main charge levelled against the South African government is that it has chosen to continue to pursue a policy of institutionalised racial discrimination at a time when world opinion has turned against racism. However, it is important to stress that the policy of apartheid comprises two components  – racism and political repression.

When analysing the foregoing issues, perhaps, this is where the problem lies, in that the post-apartheid government did not deeply delve into the issue of racism in counteracting its effects after 1994. The new leaders did not ask the whole society to interrogate racism’s fundamental nature, its historical formation, and its manipulation by the colonial and apartheid rulers (emphasis added) as Magubane (1979) above proposes. It could have been erroneously assumed by the country’s leadership and civil society that the progressive policies and legislation outlawing racism were enough. The grave inequalities (coupled with extreme poverty) that emerged after 1994 did have racial connotations and may have fuelled racism across the country. Perhaps this realisation made the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to remonstrate in this way: We therefore make boldly to say that South Africa is a country of two nations. One of these nations is white, relatively prosperous, regardless of gender or geographic dispersal. It has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure…The second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in the rural areas, the black rural population in general and the disabled. The nation lives under conditions of a grossly underdeveloped economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure…The reality of two nations, underwritten by the perpetuation of the racial, gender and spatial disparities born of a very long period of colonial and apartheid white minority domination, constitutes the material base which reinforces the notion that, indeed, we are not one nation, but two nations (Mbeki, 1998, p. 3).

This duality of the post-apartheid South African society is manifest in many sections of the country and even in institutions of higher learning, where racism, albeit, subtly expresses itself in curricula and course content. Therefore, it is unsurprising that this issue was sharply brought to the centre stage of the national narrative, when students from almost all South African universities staged countrywide protests against higher education fees and demanded for decolonised curricula. The trigger for these protests can be traced back to the University of Cape Town (UCT), which has been described by some black students as the ‘last bastion’ of white privilege. Usually insulated from student protests that had been localised in Historically Black Universities (HBUs), the protest actions had found their way to UCT, due to


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changing student demographics. With more black and poorer students coming to universities such as UCT, where, for the better part of post-apartheid South Africa, white students had outnumbered black students, the social dynamics at this university also changed. Also, ‘bread and butter’ issues took centre stage. The first salvo came in the form of a student protest calling for the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes, which had stood almost as a guard post to UCT’s and the country’s past of exclusion and disenfranchisement. It seemed to serve as a stark reminder of South Africa’s brutal past of colonialism and apartheid, which was (and continues) to be reinforced in the ‘new’ South Africa through such symbols. Initially, the university administration had resisted this call by the students and did not remove the statue. In response, the students had resorted to unconventional, if not, unhygienic methods such as throwing human excrements at the statue. The statue was also defaced. Eventually, the university administration relented and removed the statue. This was also a time when the newly formed militant party of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had gone around the country defacing colonial and apartheid statues that continued to stand in South African towns and cities in the name of ‘history’ and ‘reconciliation’. The EFF’s predominantly young and fiery leadership called into sharp question the inherited and unaltered colonial and apartheid symbols and went on a course of action to remove them. It must be mentioned here that the EFF’s tactics had resonated with those of the students. One issue that is not given much coverage when discussing the fees must fall protests was that the EFF had made in-roads into universities and other institutions of higher learning. In the process, the EFF had created structures in the institutions of higher learning and had also recruited many black and African students who were predominantly from impoverished backgrounds. The ‘EFF factor’ had generated a militancy in the Historically White Universities (HWUs) where black students felt alienated and made to feel ‘invisible’. The calls for free education and the redistribution of land without compensation were well received by the black and African students. Therefore, the merging and even overlapping of ideas and agendas between the fees must fall student movement and the EFF are discernible and should not be overlooked. However, it is also not to say that the students’ protest was hijacked or defined by political parties. The spontaneous protests that started at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), another HWU, had been precipitated by solely the students.

2.6  C  ounteracting Resurgent Racism and Building Healthy Human Relationships via Social Work That racism is re-awakened after 26 years of democracy is not only worrying but should be a time for the nation to reflect on what did not go right, between the races and in the nation, during this period. Questions must be asked as to why racism still finds resonance in a democratic country, with a Constitution that has been touted as

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one of the best in the world, and also having a host of rights-based legislation, for example, the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA) 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000) (the Equality Act) which was promulgated in 2000, to give effect to Section 9 of the Constitution. This piece of legislation endeavours to facilitate South Africa’s transition to a democratic society, united in its diversity and guided by the principles of equality, fairness, equity, social progress, justice, human dignity and freedom. On the other hand, Section 9 of the Constitution provides for the enactment of national legislation to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination and to promote the achievement of equality. This implies the advancement, by special legal and other measures, of historically disadvantaged individuals, communities and social groups who were dispossessed of their land and resources, deprived of their human dignity and who continue to endure the consequences. There is something that is missing in the South African national discourse which needs to be addressed by various role players, if racism has to be erased in the country’s human relationships. For this discussion, social work should be leading the charge against racism. Thus, the call for social work to provide lasting solutions against racism is of great importance. With this statement, it must be borne in mind that social work education and training in South Africa is generalist in nature. Therefore, social workers are generalists, that is, they need a wide array of skills at their disposal. They are prepared to help people with individualised personal issues and with broad problems that affect whole communities. They engage with individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities. Their work is based on a body of knowledge, practice skills and professional values. They also function in settings that focus on children and families, health, justice, education and economic status (Kirst-Ashman, 2007). Social workers are also predisposed to responding to racism because of their training that is focussed on diversity. It can be noted that diversity requires cultural competence on the part of social workers. This is an ability to apply knowledge and skills to social work practice with diverse groups. Cultural competence includes specific knowledge about individual cultures, valuing of and sensitivity to cultural differences, awareness of the patterns of oppression experienced by other cultures and the skill to utilise culturally appropriate interventions according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 1996 cited from Kirst-Ashman (2007). In the same vein, social workers should be at the forefront in leading diversity programmes in schools and work places. An appreciation of diversity will not only stem the tide of racism but help to promote healthy human relationships in South Africa. Social workers must be especially concerned with people at risk of oppression due to the elements of race, ethnicity, national origin, colour, sex/gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political beliefs, religion, and mental or physical disability (NASW 1999 cited from Kirst-Ashman, 2007). Social workers can also engage in anti-discrimination practice. This is an approach to social work which seeks to reduce, undermine or eliminate discrimination and oppression. It challenges various forms of discrimination or oppression encountered in social work and recognises the impact of discrimination and oppression on people’s lives. Anti-discrimination practice seeks to explore ways of avoiding the pitfalls of practices which directly or indirectly result in the unfair treatment


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of individuals and groups (Thompson, 2001). In anti-discrimination practice, the practitioner’s focus is on personal and group empowerment through dialogue and an understanding of the totality of the experience of oppression and its manifestations on those affected by it. The social worker should have knowledge of the different processes that are associated with discrimination, such as lack of income, skills, racial prejudice and beliefs. He or she should be aware of the marginalisation of people from the mainstream society (Thompson, 2001). Given the fact that many practicing social workers as well as educators are products of this colonial and apartheid history, where racism was indoctrinated into the minds of some population groups, it should also be important that these individuals should begin an earnest journey of unbundling themselves of their inherited racial baggage, their ascribing to liberal and ‘Ubuntu’ tenets notwithstanding.

2.7  Conclusion This chapter discussed resurgent racism in post-apartheid South Africa and the need to promote healthy human relationships in the country. In its analysis, it was able to bring forth a comparative lens by illuminating the state of race relations in the USA. The discussion linked the rise of racism to colonialism and apartheid. To this end, the chapter spent some time examining the country’s past and looked into the race relations that emerged from the colonisation of South Africa. The latter part of the chapter looked at the role of social work in fighting resurgent racism in South Africa. In this regard, diversity and anti-discrimination practice were proposed as mechanisms of providing solutions to the new wave of racism in South Africa.

References DiAngelo, R. (2019). White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. London: Penguin. Dugard, J. (1989). Racism and repression in South Africa: The two faces of apartheid – introduction. Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2, 97–100. Dummett, M. (2004). The nature of racism. In M. P. Levine & T. Pataki (Eds.), Racism in mind (pp. 27–34). Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Heuchan, C., & Shukla, N. (2018). What is race? Who are racists? Why does skin colour matter? And other big questions. London: Hachette UK. Hoyt Jr., C. (2012). The pedagogy of the meaning of racism: Reconciling a discordant discourse. Social Work, 57(3), 225–234. Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2007). Introduction to social work and social welfare, critical thinking perspective (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. Lester, A. (1998). From colonisation to democracy: A new historical geography of South Africa. London: I.B. Tauris Publishers. Lieberman, R. C. (1995). Race, institutions, and the administration of social policy. Social Science History, 19(4), 511–542.

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Magubane, B.  M. (1979). The political economy of race and class in South Africa. New  York: Monthly Review Press. Magubane, B. M. (1989). South Africa: From Soweto to Uitenhage – The political economy of the South African revolution. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Mbeki, T.  M. (1998). Statement of the Deputy President at the opening of the debate in the National Assembly, on “Reconciliation and Nation Building”, Cape Town, 29 May. Retrieved from Pillay, J. (2017). Racism and xenophobia: The role of the Church in South Africa. Ecodomy Life in its fullness. Verbum et Ecclesia, 38(3 Suppl 1), 3–17. Thompson, N. (2001). Anti-discriminatory practice (3rd ed.). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Chapter 3

Gender and Healthy Human Relationships Lungile Mabundza and Boitumelo Seepamore

3.1  Introduction In 2019, South Africa witnessed unprecedented protests by women from all walks of life in the major cities of the country. These women from all races, classes, religion and statuses were expressing their displeasure over the high levels of violence which was perpetrated against women and children, and their wanton killings by men in South Africa. The women protesters demanded action from the government, which they accused of taking a lukewarm approach to the scourges of gender-based violence, child abuse and femicide in South Africa. In the most affluent precinct in Africa, Sandton, located in the city of Johannesburg, thousands of women who were clad in black, to symbolise a sense of loss and mourning, marched while chanting slogans and singing struggle songs in the month of September. Weeks before this, thousands of University of Cape Town (UCT) students marched to Parliament to petition the president on the same issue of gender-based violence. Indeed, the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, received their petition and addressed them. This outpouring of anger and frustration was triggered by the brutal murder and rape of a UCT 19-year-old student, Nene Mrwetyana, in August by a post office employee. This senseless murder had sent shockwaves across South Africa. While the country was trying to come to terms with this heinous act, several reports surfaced of women who had been killed in a similar way across the country. The cited civil actions, by South African women, highlight the general malaise in unhealthy human relationships across the country and expressed in various social ills especially GBV, child

L. Mabundza (*) Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Eswatini, Kwaluseni, Eswatini e-mail: [email protected] B. Seepamore Department of Social Work, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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abuse and femicide. Therefore, one way of eradicating the former can be in the promotion of healthy human relationships. This chapter discusses GBV in the South African context and how the promotion of healthy human relationships can help to stem the tide of this social problem. In examining GBV, it can be noted that a symbiotic relationship is forged between individuals and society from birth. Hence, the relationship between individuals and their environment requires nurturing and protection. In different South African communities, where there are high rates of femicide, crime, sexual abuse, family violence, poverty, it is not uncommon for unhealthy relationships, especially between genders, to manifest themselves. The disproportionately high levels of violence against women and children in South Africa make it the rape capital of the world. For instance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the murder rate of women in South Africa was more than five times the world average (WHO, 2014). About 41% of people who are raped are children and only one in nine rape cases are reported, with a successful prosecution rate of only 4% according to the Crime Against Women in South Africa Report of Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) (2018). There is also a myriad of stories of missing children and reported kidnappings, abductions and the killing of women and children. What is equally disturbing is that people who are close or related to these women and children perpetrate most of these crimes. The local media also highlights how South Africa is increasingly becoming a very unsafe place for women to live in. It is not surprising that there are high rates of gender-based violence in this country because violence is endemic, and the abuse of women has historical roots. State-­ sanctioned violence in apartheid South Africa was legalised. This did not only emerge in the apartheid era but with colonial rule which relied upon violent conquest and brutal suppression of the indigenous populations. Therefore, many cases of police brutality and violence against blacks was the order of things in the colonial and apartheid eras. Such state-led violence had resulted in the undermining of the position of Africa men as heads of families or households. Furthermore, the colonial and apartheid history points to the fact that rape was specifically used as a weapon to ensure control, obedience and interracial conformity (Scully, 1995). In their study of masculinity, Morrell, Jewkes and Lindegger (2012) trace hegemonic masculinity over time and show how it has not really changed. They also highlight how other marginalised and subversive masculinities negotiated power in their own areas of influence, one of which is the family. Other institutions such as the church, school and workplace influenced the state as the main organiser of power relations and gender influences. However, the extent to which culture, religion and tradition contribute to gender-based violence has also been questioned by some scholars (Makina, 2006). To this end, the framework, within which we view the issue of gender-based violence, is critical social work. A feminist view is important in order to highlight the oppression women, particularly black women, who suffer all phases of oppression that Young (1990) identifies, namely exploitation, marginalisation, violence, cultural imperialism and powerlessness. Heise, Ellsberg and Gottemoeller (1999) show the various ways in which violence may affect victims. The fatal consequences being death or suicide, or physical injuries, fractures, or disabilities. From a sexual

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or reproductive way, the impact may be loss of unwanted pregnancies, termination of pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases among others. On the other hand, from a psychological perspective, victims may have post-traumatic stress disorders, poor self-esteem, use harmful substances and even develop phobias and a general mistrust of men or society in general. The unhealthy relationship between men and women may not always be physical but can manifest in various ways, some of which can be exploitative. In exploitation, the dominant group (men) accumulates power, status and assets from the energy and labour of a subordinate group such as women or blacks. Marginalisation is where people are permanently confined to the margins where the labour market cannot, or will not, accommodate them. Although the South African Constitution promotes employment equity, women continue to be underemployed, coupled with a lack of education and skills, they are generally pushed into the sex trade or domestic employment, jobs often with poor working conditions and remuneration (Ehrenreich & Hochschild, 2002). Overall, they have limited work-related skills and low earning capacity and do enter the labour market to work in jobs that require little or no skills such as domestic work, or the informal economy as hawkers, vendors or traders (Ojong, 2012). A corollary to this marginalisation is the phenomenon known as the feminisation of poverty. The Green Paper on Families (Department of Social Development, 2011, p. 40) notes that the feminisation of poverty further characterises the overall poverty scenario in the country. Women endure a disproportionate burden of the outcomes of past policies, as far as poverty is concerned. Whereas men were working in various industries, many women remained in the rural areas to look after family members. Historically, women received income primarily in the form of remittances from their spouses. Cultural practices, such as patriarchy, also reinforced the exclusion of women in economic activities. Powerlessness consists of inhibitions against the development of one’s capacities, a lack of decision-making power in one’s life and exposure to disrespectful treatment because of the status one occupies such as being a woman. This can be expressed in the gender division of labour which also continues to influence how families function. Women typically assume more household responsibilities and spend a larger portion of their time on unpaid care work than men. This situation is further exacerbated by the inadequate provision of child-care facilities, causing the amount of time women spend on wage work to be reduced. Consequently, their vulnerability to poverty increases. There is, therefore, a gender dimension to poverty within families, as women continue to be marginalised in relation to men in terms of socio-economic opportunities, such as employment. In many instances, the burden of sustaining family life is placed on women who are often disadvantaged by structural and gender inequalities and inequities (Department of Social Development, 2011). Other societal reasons for the disempowerment of women stem from religion, culture and tradition. The ‘sacredness that people attach to religion makes it difficult to debate, challenge and deconstruct’ (Makina, 2006, p. 96) women’s positions in society. Some religious practices and beliefs engrain the subordination of women, and they also reinforce patriarchy and traditional gender roles of women as nurturers and men as family providers and decision-makers. These have been


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n­ ormalised as natural and thus keep women oppressed, powerless and marginalised. Finally, Young (1990) presents the idea of violence, which is suffered by oppressed groups. At a personal level, women experience systematic violence including harassment, ridicule, intimidation, and stigmatisation. At a structural level, their socio-economic, political and cultural position not only marginalise women but also disempowers them. This does not mean that women have accepted this disenfranchised position in society. The history of women’s movements spans from colonial times, apartheid and present-day South Africa, against an immoral and unjust social system to GBV (Britton, 2006). Seeing the world from the view of women, opposing androcentrism and raising consciousness about women and issues related to them, as many feminists do, is often fervently met with great opposition. It seems to challenge men, masculinity and the ‘norm’ in terms of gender relations, and this disturbance of the status quo seems problematic to some quarters in society. Any deviation from traditional gender roles is met with resistance and violence. For instance, women who identify themselves as lesbians are systematically attacked and raped in South Africa, in the name of ‘corrective rape’ – a hate crime where lesbian women are attacked due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and with misconception that this will turn the person heterosexual or to enforce conformity with gender stereotypes (Barlte, 2000; Baghdadi, 2013). The existence of this bizarre occurrence implies that there are self-appointed guardians of gender relations in society. Taking into account what has been discussed, it can be argued that social work is well-placed to challenge the injustices generated by gender-based violence in any form or shape that it takes, and the next section focuses on critical social work and specifically, the power of social action in responding to the issue of GBV.

3.2  Critical Social Work In line with the social work values of social justice, this theory is concerned with deconstructing taken-for-granted assumptions about society and is concerned with examining the relationship between individuals, and between people and social structures (Humphreys, 2007). Race, gender and social class clearly have a bearing on the position of women in society and how they are treated. The focus of critical social work, by questioning the location of truth and power, seeks to understand sources of oppression, exploitation and social injustice and how issues of race, class and gender intersect to influence access to power, status and resource allocation (Sewpaul, 2013). Critical social workers believe in allowing for difference and not seeing the world in binary and dichotomous terms. While the relations between men and women are shaped by their social environment, social workers seek to understand the historical, social and political contexts within which gender-based violence is located (Beresford, 2007). Women continue to be subordinated although each experience is unique and different. Despite the move for women empowerment

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and a general societal consensus with the raising of consciousness, which comes with change, this does not always result in practice. Women have to take back their power, but power cannot be given; it is something attained by one group, and it is not a commodity that can be transferred (Fook, 2014) as many ‘empowerment’ programmes aim to do. The pitfalls of empowerment in that there is a danger of people empowering others to fit into the dominant discourse, which is usually along patriarchal lines, and along those where the world revolves. This implies that women are often seen as a group needing to be elevated to the status of men in order to be ‘equal’ and by insinuation – ‘normal’. In what Young (1990) terms cultural imperialism seeks to normalise the idea that the end goal is women’s equality to men. But doing so would be missing the point. This idea of ‘elevating’ women to the same level as men implies that men are the standard towards which to aspire and attempts to homogenise experiences and be blinded to the existence of difference between these genders. Society, being patriarchal and hierarchical, and promoting male dominance, enforced by people’s beliefs, cultures, histories and politics, continues to essentialise gender roles, thereby entrenching the unhealthy relation between men and women. Women therefore have to always guard against exclusion, or the danger of their voices being muted. However, historically, women’s voices have not always been submerged, in South Africa. They have also been organised at many levels: in the public arena, in the liberation struggle, academia, the church, government and the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) sector. In apartheid South Africa, racism and sexism were sanctioned by the state and legalised, demanding that women not assert themselves, their positions and role in society. While feminists have also made strides in challenging the status quo, it is clear that there is still much to be done. The position of women in South Africa with its violent past and history of apartheid continues to be inferior to men, and it is still a struggle in all sectors of society such as the labour force, governance and religion. For instance, the Black Administration Act of 1927 and the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 related to the administration of relations between men and women, and under customary law, black women were perpetual minors under the guardianship of their husbands. They were also unable to own or inherit land or property, among others. Furthermore, beliefs and upbringing in relation to fatherhood influence the role that some men may play in the lives of their children today. It can be argued that South Africa’s patriarchal system has made men to have massive power over women and children. They exert their authority which is coupled with a history of state and social violence, physical discipline and corporal punishment (Dawes, Kafaar, de Sas Kropiwnicki, Pather, & Richter, 2004). As heads of households, they also had the right to discipline their wives, daughters and other female relatives. In the workplace, women were largely excluded, or partook in informal work such as domestic work (prior to 1997), or participated in feminised workplaces as nurturers or in nurturing work, or work which supports men and men as decision-makers, leaders and major role players in the workplace (Medina, 2001) such as nursing, personal assistants, cleaners etc. In post-apartheid South Africa, various laws have been put in place in part to redress the ‘imbalances of the past’


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and to promote healthier gender relations. However, in practice, this seems to be elusive. Affirmative action policies such as gender equity are still more on paper than in practice. Thus, violence against women has led to South Africa being renamed the rape capital of the world. While there were expectations that in post-­ apartheid South Africa, the interaction between government and community organisations would be strengthened, this has not been the case (Britton, 2006). As soon as women entered government, their priorities seemed to change and their positions became more aligned to the dominant cultural beliefs and practices. Despite the majority party promising to ensure a gender balance in government, this has not always been translated into practice. It can be argued that this move would have advanced the feminist agenda somewhat and ensured that women issues are prioritised. Indeed, due to this, various government programmes and campaigns to end GBV such as the 16 days of no violence against women and children are criticised for being events that do not change the status quo and that these campaigns have not been as effective as one would have hoped. Worldwide, there have been movements to curb GBV, for instance, the escalating violence against women and children led to the establishment of the #MeToo campaign starting with allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein and the #BlackLivesMatter movement which began in 2013 in the United States of America (USA), as a hashtag and means to bring attention to violence inflicted on the black communities. This followed the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin in the USA. Following the abduction of 276 female learners from a school in Borno State, Nigeria, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was born. The #Totalshutdown campaign in South Africa continues to put GBV under the spotlight. This campaign has not only exposed, or named and shamed abusers, but has also engaged women in government in the struggle against continuous attacks on women and children. All these and more campaigns share a common denominator which is that most of the gender-based violence brings enormous trauma and pain in the lives of the victims, families and communities within which such incidents happen.

3.3  Working with Survivors of Gender-Based Violence Social work moves from the premise that individuals and survivors are the experts of their own lives and acknowledges the power, autonomy and authority that they possess. In casework, social workers need to understand that service means putting clients’ needs ahead of their own and not minimise the experiences of the survivor or act as if they understand what is going on. Micro skills need counsellors who wholeheartedly want to listen or what is referred to as ‘active listening’. The former refers to the stories being told and allow the client to take the lead. They need a certain level of flexibility in order to allow for small and big changes in the clients’ narrative without doubting their story. Strong interviewing and counselling skills are necessary for clients to tell their stories without fear of judgement. Social

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­ orkers need to ensure that they uphold the dignity and worth of the individual, w self-­determination, integrity, and competence by enabling survivors to tell their stories or narratives and thus describe these experiences as part of the empowerment process (Dominelli, 2002). Women who have endured different forms of abuse need to be heard as a means of acknowledging what has happened and taking small steps to gaining control and autonomy. It is important for social workers to understand the experiences and stories of individual women from their perspective. Women need an ear, space, platform and a voice in order for them to be heard. It is important to note that instead of dictating to a survivor, a social worker must first acknowledge that there is no one ‘size fits all’ approach when it comes to working with survivors of abuse. Knowing how to use the ‘duty to report and duty to protect’ in a non-threatening manner is a skill that social workers need to harness and develop over their course of their practice. During the therapeutic process, it is important for a social worker to allow clients to move at their own pace, embrace the therapeutic process while learning to trust the helping process. From the first session, a social worker needs to show support, sensitivity, warmth and acceptance through the expression of empathy. For instance, if a social worker uses the narrative approach, she or he allows the client the freedom and/or permission to tell their full story while allowing them a safe space to reshape, readjust and refocus certain aspects of their lived experiences in their own words and in their own terms. It is important not to force a client to terminate before they are ready to do so. It is better for social workers to exercise their discretion and allow the client to make their decisions however small.

3.4  Building Healthy Human Relationships Creating healthy human relationships is a fundamental approach in social work practice for creating change, which improves people’s lives according to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) (2019). These relationships provide individuals with an opportunity to grow, share themselves and form a bond that enhances the self and others (Spitz, 1949). Human interaction is vital for their survival, and to thrive, there is a natural yearning for connection with others (Hossain & Ali, 2014). Building healthy, strong, positive and meaningful relationships is at the core of the human experience and existence. An environment that provides protection, care, love and nurturing is equally essential for human survival. However, face-to-face interaction is threatened by advances in technology, which are rapidly being replaced by other forms of ‘artificial’ forms of communications. For instance, the social media has created a new wave of connectivity and interaction where an individual can have a million friends on different media platforms, yet they are lonely and have no meaningful relationships. Nowadays, people are becoming loners within families, groups and communities. Such scenarios, where people have ‘friends’ on social media, result in a falsehood of ‘togetherness’. As a result of these unhealthy, artificial relationships, it is possible for unhealthy human relationships to develop.


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Furthermore, other social factors that continue to threaten healthy human relationships are caused by artificial borders, capitalism and the need to amass personal wealth at the expense of social relationships, which may lead to violence, for instance, the fear and hatred of foreigners. At a societal level, there is disassociation of people from one another, and when the oppressed begin mimicking or imitating behaviours and attitudes of the dominant group (Mullay, 2010). It needs to be stated that the increase of intolerance between black Africans is concerning. The black-on-­ black violence shows the extent to which an oppressed group has separated from itself. Hence, people are slowly drifting away from their humanity, tolerance and Ubuntu – an African philosophy of mutual-aid and reciprocity. Communal living in African societies has always meant that Africa belongs to all Africans. That is why there is no stranger in Africa, but the incidents of hatred towards foreigners are a cause for concern. Such intolerance can be seen in all public spaces such as government, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and in institutions of higher learning where expatriates are constantly receiving hostile treatment from locals who claim that immigrants have come to take their jobs. In universities, foreign instructors are being told that they have no appreciation of local context and therefore should not be allowed to teach. All around, incidents of intolerance are on the rise. As such, building solid and meaningful human relationships is becoming very challenging. Still, social workers have a huge task of helping their clients to build sustainable, vibrant and long-lasting relationships with those around them. Revisiting Ubuntu is seemingly one of things that can be used to harness being a brother’s and sister’s keeper. The next section presents a case study to augment the discussions of this chapter. Box 3.1 Case Study: Family Violence Sindiswa (not her real name), a 15-year-old girl, who lost both her parents to HIV/AIDS, and being a double orphan, lives with her cousins, uncles and aunts. Within such an extended family set-up, Sindiswa is expected to work hard because she does not have anyone to protect her interests. She was forced to drop out of school in order to look after livestock since no one was prepared to pay for her school fees. Sindiswa is diligent and works very hard in all her duties around the homestead as she hopes that one day her uncles or aunts will pity her and pay for her school fees so that she could go back to school. In recent months, Sindiswa has been very unhappy but she does not want to tell anyone what is bothering her. When asked what is wrong, she tells her cousins that she got injured on the foot while herding cattle. She recently asked to go to a local clinic for her ‘injury’ and at the clinic she disclosed that her grandfather and one of the uncles are sexually molesting her. She is afraid to report this abuse as she risks being homeless. The nurses then referred Sindiswa to a social worker who was more equipped to conduct an in-person environment assessment and see what other avenues were open for Sindiswa.

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This vignette shows a situation, which is not uncommon and often presented to social workers. Social work is carried out within a relational framework, often ‘identifying, naming and changing systems and attitudes in society that impact, diminish and work against the promotion of healthy human relationships’ (Craik, 2019). In promoting social justice, social workers are expected to help preserve the dignity and worth of individuals. They are tasked with advocating against abusive and oppressive structures that have the potential to diminish or marginalise others. They are also interested in helping individuals to create strong bonds and community reciprocity while strengthening social relationships. Some critical points to take into account, when working with a situation similar to the one illustrated in the case study above, are the following: 1. Duties of social workers: Social workers have a duty to always protect, and to report, while providing services, in a competent and trustworthy way. In the work with clients, social workers are expected to uphold integrity. 2. Advocacy: Social workers advocate for minority groups, which are being oppressed. 3. Liaison: If there are services that can benefit Sindiswa, it is ethical for a social worker to connect her with those service providers. 4. Helping process: A social worker needs to acknowledge the impact of the trauma that Sindiswa has undergone. 5. Privileged: A social worker needs to realise that he or she belongs to the majority. The social worker needs to allow himself/herself to understand the perspective of the minority. 6. Safety: Ensuring safety of the client is also something to take into consideration. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Some form of trauma can result in mental health issues, and therefore it is important for the social worker to assess appropriately. In applying Maslow’s and Rogers’ theories, a social worker attending to Sindiswa is expected to work in a manner that he or she encourages healthy human relationships within the environment, which she lives in. The social worker needs to be able to assist the family in resurrecting the humanistic spirit. When serving clients like Sindiswa, it is important for a social worker to utilise a relational social work approach in harnessing healthy human relationships. It is important for the social worker to promote social justice and advocate for the marginalised, oppressed and powerless. Her role would be to help clients feel safe, more trusting and thrive in the face of adversity. Through a healthy relationship, it is prudent for the social worker to understand that this helping relationship is the foundation for trust and empowerment of the client. Advocating for the rights of the clients is critical and ensuring that they are protected from an abusive environment is key. According to the Children’s Views Report the GSCC (2008): Social workers need to understand more from a child’s perspective about any situation … [they need] understanding of a person’s feelings and to understand all children are different … With children in care, they need to always know they have someone they can turn to and talk to …You just want people to listen, understand and be there on a regular basis.


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Since violence may take place at different levels, we have delineated our social work interventions in response to this challenge on three broad levels at the micro, meso and macro levels.

3.5  Social Work Interventions The main challenge in today’s society is that dialogue and face-to-face interaction is becoming the last resort after violence has occurred. The erosion of indigenous social systems has left a vacuum in interpersonal relations and human relationships in South Africa and broadly Africa. For instance, the traditional practice of dispute/ conflict resolution such as family structure is slowly losing relevance. Indigenous African societies were built on a sense of community, brotherhood/sisterhood and hospitality as cardinal values for all citizens. The African people’s idea of security and its value depended on personal identification with and within the community (Onyedinma & Kanayo, 2013). In these indigenous communities, relationships were reliable, continuous and face-to-face; a firm sense of self was favoured and appropriate to the circumstances (Gergen, 1991). One’s sense of identity was broadly and continuously supported. Pipher (1996) observes that we have a crisis of meaning in our culture. This crisis comes as a result of our isolation from each other, from the values we learn in a culture of consumption and from the fuzzy self-help message that the only commitment is to the self and only important question is: am I happy? We learn that we are number one and that our own immediate needs are the most important ones. Both Gergen and Pipher agree that the ‘self’ is under siege to the point that more and more people are less rooted in communities and less committed to a set of values. The question becomes how these individuals can be expected to preserve and promote a sense of a healthy self (Gergen, 1991; Pipher, 1996). Subsequently, the undesired animalistic rudeness (which manifest in the form of gender based violence, sexual assault, femicides, rape, stalking and child sexual abuse) that is taking root in most societies – between men and women – is an indication of the diminishing civility, fading of bonds and diminishing of healthy human relationships (Rowland & Klein, 1990). It is important to revisit the need to be kind to each other and create more platforms that facilitate healthy human interactions and peaceful conflict management. This is where indigenous value systems need to be brought to the centre-stage. To this end, the focus on Ubuntu is of critical importance. In Africa’s and South Africa’s past ‘social interaction was a vehicle for reciprocal influence exercised by individuals over one another during social encounters’. Face-to-face interactions were deliberate and transpired in close proximity, because all parties involved were present for a specified period. Such interactions made humans superior than other animals because of their ability to communicate and have meaningful interactions with one another. Communication happens in all sorts of ways  – through verbal and non-­ verbal means. Even though we can never physically touch, people know and feel love when it is expressed to them. It is through such interactions that infants are taught how to receive or reject certain things: norms, values, mores are passed to

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individuals through interactions. Goffman (1972) asserts that people try to control the impression they make on others in social encounters because we all seek approval of those around us. Accordingly, Shuttle (2001), Broodryk (2008), Ng’weshemi (2002) and Bujo (2003) observe that while one is born human, yet their humanness could either be enhanced or stifled by the quality of relationships around the individual. They suggest that it is essential, therefore, to be able to cultivate empathy and the ability to want to love, respect and preserve human life rather than to resort to violence towards fellow humans. To them, the process of ‘becoming’ human and signs of growth are governed by the existence of reciprocal relatedness of the individual and the realisation that ‘I am because we are’ through protective healthy human interactions. It goes without saying that healthy human relationships are an essential component of the overall well-being of an individual. It is also important to acknowledge the elements that go into making an individual humane, and these mechanisms must begin working inside out (internally and externally). In the end, everyone needs someone to support him or her throughout the life-cycle.

3.6  Implications for Social Work Practice At this juncture, it is important to bring to the fore the implications for social work in regard to healthy human relationships. One of the key issues here is that social workers need to be reflective practitioners, so that they are able to correct mistakes made and also note good practices in their work with victims, perpetrators, families and the different systems around their work. Furthermore, social workers need to learn the importance of self-care especially when working with victims of violence and their families. As change agents while dealing with various social problems, social workers have to be debriefed. Also, they need to acknowledge the difficulty in working with perpetrators especially in correctional facilities. In addition, social workers must be able to acknowledge that they are human first and that in the human experience, they will suffer from transference and countertransference. They should also be able to recognise signs of countertransference and know how to seek help. Of critical importance, social workers should be able to recognise and know the signs of burnout and have a safe space to debrief, especially as they deal with sensitive issues. Social workers also need to acknowledge that they will be effective in some cases and not in others, as well as need to develop healthy coping mechanisms especially when they are unable to help the client. Social workers need to learn to ask for help especially if they are also caught in the cycle of violence. Early interventions save lives, and social workers need to assess for domestic violence and/or other forms of abuse in all assessments and have the willingness to do early interventions. The African proverbs notes: ‘if you want to go quickly, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together’ puts emphasis on the need for human beings to care about the other person. And the Bondei proverb that points out ‘sticks in a bundle are unbreakable’ demonstrates that much can be achieved when human beings learn to work together for a greater good. According to Ngomane (2019), a true African


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experience meant that an individual is known and identified in, and by his/her community. This was an important sign of belonging to a community. Humans need Ubuntu because it is a significant part of human existence. Consequently, the benefits of humane communication are harmony and peace. Through healthy communication, societies have established laws, beliefs and values that help facilitate and maintain humane treatment. It is important to point out that Ubuntu is an essential ingredient in establishing healthy human relationships and it should be based on the following: • • • • • •

Seeing yourself in other people Choosing a wider perspective Put yourself in ‘other people’s shoes’ Believing in the good of everyone Seek ways to connect Strength lies in unity

3.7  Conclusion Social action focuses on bringing about changes to the power structures in the community, and if problems exist, they need input from social workers to make them aware of their political rights and roles, conscientise them to the political reality that shapes their lives and empower them to contribute to a socially just society. Women as an oppressed and marginalised, powerless and disrespected group can transform societal patterns of representation, interpretation and communication. South Africa as a whole is experiencing persistent inequality, poverty and inequalities in accessing social services, as well as economic and social services. These inequalities indirectly fuel the intolerance amongst individuals who are supposed to live harmoniously with each other. A well developed and comprehensive human development plan is urgently needed in order to holistically address the myriad challenges, which in turn result in most of the social problems we are currently experiencing in the continent. There is urgent need for evidence-based interventions which are inclusive, equitable and sustainable in order to address most of these challenges.

References Baghdadi, F. (2013). Corrective rape of black lesbian women in Post Apartheid South Africa: Investigating the symbiotic violence and resulting misappropriation of symbiotic violence and resulting misappropriation of symbiotic power that ensues within a nexus of social imaginaries. Academia. A night of Dostoevskian Smiles and Sadean Excesses. Barlte, E. E. (2000). Lesbians and hate crimes. Journal of Poverty, 4(4), 23–43. Beresford, K. S. (2007). ‘Men of Kent’: Gender and Nationhood in Regional Perspective (Doctoral dissertation, University College London (University of London).

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Britton, H. (2006). Organising against gender violence in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 3(1), 145. Broodryk, J. (2008). Understanding South Africa: The Ubuntu way of living. Pretoria: Ubuntu School of Philosophy. Bujo, B. (2003). Foundations of an African ethic: Beyond the universal claims of Western morality. Nairobi: Paulines Publications. Craik, C. (2019). World social work day: promoting the importance of human relationships. Australian Association of Social Workers. Dawes, A., Karfaar, Z., de Sas Kropiwnicki, Z., Pather, R., & Ritcher, L. (2004). Partner violence, attitudes to child discipline & use of corporal punishment: A South African Survey. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2011). The green paper on families. Pretoria, South Africa: DSD. Dominelli, L. (2002). Feminist social work theory and practice. Houndmills: MacMillan International Higher Education. Ehrenreich, B., & Hochschild, A. R. (2002). Global Women: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy, New York: Henry Holt, pp. 1–10. Fook, J. (2014). The meaning of animals in women’s lives: The importance of the ‘domestic’ realm to social work. In T. Ryan (Ed.), Animals in social work (pp. 18–31). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Fook, J. (2016). Social work: A critical approach to practice. London: Sage Publishers. General Social Care. (2008). Council Submission to the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee inquiry into training of Children and Families Social Workers. Unpublished. Gergen, K. J. (1991). The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary live (vol.166). New York. Basic Books. Goffman, E. (1972). The presentation of self to others. Symbolic interaction: A reader in social psychology, 234-244. Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., & Gottemoeller, M. (1999). Ending violence against women. Population Reports, 27(4), 1–1. Hossain, F. M. A., & Ali, M. D. K. (2014). Relation between individual and society. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 130–137. Humphreys, C. (2007). Domestic violence and child protection: Exploring the role of perpetrator risk assessments. Child and Family Social Work, 12, 360–369. Makina, A. (2006). Same old challenges  – Life, 21 years after the United Nations Decade for Women. Agenda, 20(69), 92–99. Morrell, R., Jewkes, R., & Lindegger, G. (2012). Hegemonic masculinity/masculinities in South Africa: Culture, power, and gender politics. Men and Masculinities, 15(1), 11–30. Mullay, B. (2010). Challenging oppression and confronting privilege. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press. Ng’weshemi, A.  M. (2002). Rediscovering the human: The quest for a Christo-Theological Anthropology in Africa. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.. Ngomane F. N. (2019). The rebellious and ungovernable Barbeton community against Barbeton mines (Pty) Ltd (Doctoral Dissertation). Ojong, B.V. (2012). Career-driven migration: a new transnational mosaic for African women. Loyola Journal of Social Sciences, 269(2), 209-227. Onyedinma, E. E. & Kanayo, N. L. (2013). Understanding human relations in African traditional religious context in the face of globalization: Nigerian perspectives. American International Journal of Contemporary Research, 3(2), p61. Pipher, M. (1996). Reviving ophelia, saving the selves of adolescent girls (Cassette Recording No. BDDAP619). New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell. Rowland, R. & Klein, R. (1990). Radical feminism: Critique and construct. Feminist knowledge: Critical critique and construct, 271–303. Scully, P. (1995). Rape, race, and colonial culture: The sexual politics of identity in the nineteenth-­ century Cape Colony, South Africa. The American Historical Review, 100(2), 335–359.


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Sewpaul, V. (2013). Inscribed in our blood: Confronting and challenging the ideology of sexism and racism. Affilia, The Journal of Women and Social Work, 28(2), 116–125. Shutte, A. (2001). Ubuntu, an ethic for a new South Africa. Cluster Publications: Pietermaritzburg. Spitz, R. (1949). The role of ecological factors in emotional development in infancy. Child Development, 20, 145–155. World Health Organisation (WHO). (2014). Global status report on violence prevention. Geneva: WHO Press. Young, I. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Chapter 4

Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Sub-­Saharan African Countries and the Promotion of Healthy Human Relationships Chance Chagunda

4.1  Introduction Healthy human relationships are the foundation of socio-economic development and help to maintain the well-being of humanity. Miller (2004) defines healthy human relationships as a state of peace with fellow human beings, which refers to harmonious human relations relating to respectful treatment of others. Therefore, the promotion of healthy human relationships is critical among asylum seekers and refugees in South Africa due to their vulnerability. The South African Department of Home Affairs (2020) considers an asylum seeker as an individual who has fled one’s country of origin and is seeking recognition and protection as a refugee in another country and whose application is still under consideration. On the other hand, it regards a refugee as an individual who has been granted asylum status and protection in the receiving country. Section 24 of the Refugee Act No 130 of 1998 stipulates that refugees on South African soil are those that have been given asylum status and protection (Department of Home Affairs, 2020). The purpose of this chapter is to shed light on the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in South Africa and the perceptions of some South Africans in the light of healthy human relationships. This chapter further examines how some methodologies from a social development perspective could help to promote healthy human relationships. It also attempts to provide some cases related to the problem of black-­ on-­black violence and to offer a step-by-step application of solutions to the problems. The past two decades have witnessed an increase in the breakdown of human relationships emanating from socio-economic instability, challenges and horrific living conditions that led asylum seekers and refugees to seek refuge in other states. Unfortunately, their arrival in host countries is not always welcome. Perhaps C. Chagunda (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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the plight of those seeking refuge elsewhere, away from their homelands, is best captured by the following: a photograph of drowned Salvadorian, Alberto Ramirez and his two-year old daughter clinging to each other in death, uncovered a bitter reality around the separation of children from their parents and proof that children were caged at a Mexico migrant holding centre (The Guardian, 2019). On 3rd July 2019, the bombing of a detention centre for migrants in Libya resulted in 44 deaths and 130 injured as they were waiting to cross the Mediterranean Sea for a safer home in Europe with the hope of a better future and healthier human relationships. Therefore, the journeys that refugees and asylum seekers take are, in many instances, dangerous. South Africa is considered the largest recipient of refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan African countries. It is also thought to hold a record number of xenophobic attacks, between 1995 and 2018, in its different provinces, namely Kwa-Zulu Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape. These xenophobic attacks completely caused disruptions in the integration process of the immigrants, social cohesion and damaged human relationships altogether.

4.2  P  olicy Context Pertaining to Asylum Seekers and Refugees in South Africa The following legal instruments mandate the government of South Africa to provide refuge and protection to people from elsewhere who are fleeing from various dangerous situations: Refugees Act, 1998 (No. 130 of 1998), and Refugees Regulations of 27 December 2019; 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; 1969 Organisation of African Union Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugees Problems in Africa and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees; 1993 Basic Agreement Between the Government of South Africa and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the South African Immigration Act 13 of 2002 (as amended) and the Immigration Amendment Act 12 of 2004 and Immigration Amendment Act 3 of 2007.

4.3  The South African Constitution of 1996 The South African Constitution of 1996 is the overarching legal framework and the nation’s moral compass. The South African Bill of Rights as contained in this Constitution is regarded by constitutional experts and other jurists as the beacon of democracy due to its upholding of democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom (Noyoo, 2018). The South African Constitution solidifies the government’s obligation to protect asylum seekers and refugees (Republic of South Africa, 1996). The Bill of Rights in this Constitution is very clear about the entitlements of the ­refugees such as the right to education, food, health-care, housing, social security and water.

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4.4  The Refugee Act, 1998 (No. 130 of 1998) The passing of the Refugees Act, 1998 (No. 130 of 1998) was ground-breaking as it allowed among others black people from other African countries to seek refuge in South Africa. It clearly states that refugees could get access to education and employment in the country. The Act allows any individual from any country to apply for asylum in South Africa. It must be pointed out, however, that unlike other African countries where refugees reside in refugee camps, South Africa gives refugees the opportunity to integrate into the South African society. This is supposed to promote healthy human relationships that are critical for social cohesion, cohabitation and social development (Palmary, 2002). The latest amendment to the 1998 Refugees Act of 1998 that came into effect on 1st January 2020 has widely been criticised as it limits the provisions that were provided to asylum seekers and refugees in the Refugee Act of 1998. According to the amended Act, there is restriction in accessing work, curtailing certain rights and discourages political involvement or contact with diplomatic missions when under threat of deportation (Mail & Guardian, 2020). The latest amendment is stringent on refugees’ involvement in political association, as some normally do so, to help resolve things in their countries of origin so that healthy human relationships can be restored, and peace prevails and thereby enabling them to return home. Unlike the Refugees Act of 1998, this amendment has narrowed the opportunities of getting work and education (Businesstech, 2020).

4.5  Definition of Entitlements Refugees have rights and some entitlements. In terms of the rights and obligations of refugees and asylum seekers, in accordance with the Refugees Act 130 of 1998, a refugee is entitled to the following: (a) A formal written recognition of refugee status in the prescribed form (b) Full legal protection, which includes the rights set out in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, except those rights that only apply to citizens (c) An identity document referred to in Section 30 (d) A travel document if he or she applies in the prescribed manner (e) An individual is allowed to seek for employment

4.6  The Immigration Act of 2002 and Its Amendments The Immigration Act of 2002 as amended in 2004 and 2013 aims at providing for the regulation of admission of persons to, their residence in, and their departure from the Republic of South Africa and for matters connected to civil society regard-


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ing education on the rights of foreigners and refugees (Department of Home Affairs, 2014). Kabamba (2020) argues that South African legislation pertaining to asylum seekers and refugees and its implementation should enhance practical ways to root out the unhealthy situation surrounding asylum seekers and refugees that contributes to unhealthy human relationships. Asylum seekers and refugees need security, and this security is not the one understood as having to defend a country against military threats as articulated by King and Murray (2001). The current human security implies that the individual and human needs such as economic and personal well-being, health, food availability and community safety are fully met. Government policies and programmes should be tailored to ensuring that the components of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ security are upheld and promoted (Gasper & Truong, 2007). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasises that human security is freedom from fear and want (King & Murray, 2001). Thus, the absence of fear and fulfilment of needs promote healthy human relationships. Nevertheless, Shivji (2020) argues that an amendment to South Africa’s Refugees Act of 1998 introduced the term ‘national security’. This is instead a direct assault on asylum seekers and refugees and violates national, regional and international laws. It goes without saying that such violation destroys healthy human relationships. Shivji (2020) goes further to state that such amendments have eroded democratic rights enshrined in the South African Constitution that guarantee all people on South African soil, the right to dignity, the right to food, and the right to protection. For example, off late refugees in the City of Cape Town are being chased from one corner to the next, with different government departments and spheres of government pointing fingers at each other while dignity, trust and human relationships continue to be eroded. In such situations, refugees and asylum seekers have been met with violence. The next section takes a closer look at this issue.

4.7  V  iolence in South Africa and the Plight of Refugees and Asylum Seekers There are various reasons that can be attributed to the origin or widespread of violence in South Africa. Some of the reasons are as follows: the dispossession of land from the black people by white settlers, political violence including in the apartheid era, factional groups, poverty and unemployment, criminal elements and Afrophobia. Despite having a very liberal and progressive constitution and laws, sub-Saharan refugees and asylum seekers have on numerous accounts been violently attacked by South Africans, especially during the almost yearly xenophobic attacks. Many ­refugees and asylum seekers have been displaced with some living on the streets for fear of victimisation in South African communities. The Preamble to the South African Constitution states that: …We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of our past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and

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deepen our country; and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity …We therefore, … adopt this Constitution… so as to – Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights… (Constitution of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, p. 1).

The South African Constitution is founded on the ideals of human dignity, equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms that are supposed to enhance healthy human relationships. This progressive Constitution attempts to deal with the challenges emanating from the Apartheid policies that continue to haunt the current socio-economic context. The root of the current socio-economic situation dates back to several centuries due to the formal economy that had its beginnings in the arrival of Dutch settlers in 1652. After the discovery of diamonds in 1870 and gold deposits in 1886, the government of the day started enacting discriminatory and segregationist laws, especially after the National Party (NP) won the national election in 1948 (Pottinger, 1988). This was made worse when land was taken forcibly from subsistence farmers by white settlers. This meant that black South Africans who had fed themselves and their households from the land could no longer do so. To survive, most black South African men had to go and work in the mines or on white-owned farms, while black South African females either found work on farms or as domestic workers in white households (Khoza, 2007). The winning of national elections in 1948 by the NP was also the beginning of the apartheid phase of South African history, which was characterised by the separation of races through a programme of separate development and destruction of healthy human relationships that had prevailed for decades (Minorities at Risk Project, 2004). Even though the wars between settlers and Africans such as the Dutch against the native Khoi-Khoi, Anglo-Zulu, Anglo-Pedi War and Anglo-Boer War (South African war) negatively affected human relationships, this official separation did more harm than good. Apartheid policies and legislation legally separated whites from other ethnicities, and so this too led to the drifting apart of human relationships. Whether one speaks of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act (Act No. 55 of 1949) or the Group Areas Act (Act No.41 of 1950), these laws officially destroyed human relationships, and their negative impacts still prevail today. Most black South African people who had been forcibly removed from fertile land were settled in townships where they could not cultivate crops or graze their livestock (Khoza, 2007). This was as a result of Group Areas Act passed by the government in 1950 to move people into new areas based on their race (Minorities at Risk Project, 2004). Being landless, most black South Africans became excluded from the mainstream systems of the economy, and this greatly contributed to their poor living conditions and destroyed their human relationships and trust (Marais, 2011). Most of these people have never been at peace since their land was forcefully taken by white settlers. It can be said clearly that in general, black South Africans and white South Africans have never had a healthy human relationship because of the issue of land, among others. After winning the first democratic election in 1994, the African National Congress (ANC)-led government has been trying to restore the broken human relationships through various policies and government programmes, but not


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much progress has been made. The majority of black South Africans have continued to be landless and lack socio-economic freedom and that has contributed to creating tensions and challenges in the relationships among racial groupings. Children of black South Africans have been deprived of proper education due to intergeneration poverty caused by land dispossession since land was one of the main sources of livelihood among black South Africans. Land dispossession increased income poverty, asset poverty and inter-­ generational poverty. Consequently, this led to bitterness, hatred and destruction of harmonious human relationships within racial groups. Most black South African people started to live in unbearable situations where hunger threatened their being (Kanbur & Squire, 2001). These hardships have contributed greatly to destroying healthy human relationships. Some of these black South Africans cannot understand why some asylum seekers and refugees seem to live a better life than themselves, the owners of the country. Furthermore, some of the refugees run good small businesses and manage to sell their products to the public at a cheaper price than local South Africans. These sentiments, attitudes and perceptions breed destructive conflicts and hatred. The inculcation of blacks hating blacks by the apartheid regime to some extent informed such behaviour.

4.8  P  olitical Violence Among and Between Different Political Formations According to the South African History Online (2019), between 1985 and 1990, political violence was a common occurrence in South Africa, and the epicentre of this violence was within the black townships. Even though most violent action was directed at the apartheid government, most killing of blacks by blacks was massively witnessed in black townships such as in Johannesburg. Such violence took a twist as destructive conflict broke out among the followers of especially the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). The violence among these political parties claimed so many lives. Violence bred unhealthy human relationships, and this in return produced more violence and mistrust. For example, the town of Richmond in the province of KwaZulu-Natal is one of the areas where political killings destroyed healthy human relationships. Many people that are still living witnessed massacres in this town of KwaZulu-Natal (Clark, 2018). Community leaders, the police and almost everyone lived in constant fear as the entire KwaZulu-Natal people lived in unhealthy human relationships full of suspicion and mistrust. Various people were receiving death threats through a­ nonymous phone calls. Police officers and witnesses were all afraid to continue with cases regarding political violence. It is not surprising that there were no arrests and no prosecutions for any of the cases over the years (Clark, 2018). Rampant poverty and joblessness, increased factionalism and polarisation within the ANC, with members fighting over political positions and competition for tenders and contracts, have

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been conducive to the escalation of a culture of violence. Hence, violence has continued to destroy healthy human relationships. It can be located in the history of the country. First, it was destructive conflict and war between white settlers and black people; secondly, it was black on black violence and recently it is black South Africans against black refugees (sub-Saharan Africans) and asylum seekers.

4.9  V  iolent Attacks Against Refugees and Asylum Seekers in South Africa During the apartheid days, most of the ANC politicians fighting for South Africa’s liberation were given refuge and provided shelter in many Southern African countries. In that regard, those South Africans were asylum seekers and refugees. Citizens of these countries such as Zambians, Angolans and Tanzanians, among others, lost their lives alongside the South African freedom fighters. This fact is not well documented or publicised in South Africa. Therefore, an acknowledgement should be made for the sacrifices that other people, apart from South Africans, made on behalf of this country. In a study conducted by Bekker, Eigelaar-Meets, Eva and Poole (2008), of the respondents who had been asked how well they thought South African exiles had been treated in other African states, 20% believed that they were treated badly, 41% said that they had no idea and 39% stated that they were treated well. It can be concluded from the findings of this survey that some South Africans found the idea of reciprocity for past support of the liberation struggle irrelevant (Bekker et al., 2008). Violence by some South Africans against foreign nations has mainly been perpetrated by black people. These violent outbreaks orchestrated by black South Africans against refugees and asylum seekers can be traced back as far as 1994 (Bekker et al., 2008), and the intolerance against these vulnerable groups has increased ever since (Crush, 2008). The former study indicated that Mozambicans who had lived sideby-side with local South Africans before 1994 were hated and side-lined after 1994. Considering these horrible occurrences, the South African Bishops’ Conference in 1995 warranted an urgent intervention (Crush, 2008). The human rights activist, Sheena Duncan, of a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) known as Black Sash raised concern over the increase of xenophobic attacks at a disturbingly fast pace (Crush, 2008). Attacks against immigrant shopkeepers in 2006 later intensified, and in 2007, and 2008, wide-scale xenophobic violence occurred leaving more than 100 people dead, about 700 injured and thousands fleeing back to their countries of origin (Crush, 2008; Everett, 2011). Xenophobic attacks are principally targeted at subSaharan African foreigners who are referred to as Makwerekwere. For instance, in early 2013, a young Mozambican man known as Mido Macia was tied to a police vehicle and dragged through a street in Johannesburg by police officers just because he had parked his taxi on the wrong side of the road (Patel & Essa, 2017). Mido died a terrible death.


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The question to ask is: How many South African taxi drivers park in a similar way including other serious crimes, but nothing is done to them? This is not criminality but xenophobia. Among other reasons, these attacks were fuelled by the perception that asylum seekers and refugees are taking the jobs of local South Africans, had more opportunities and were living a better life (Kabamba, 2020). Asylum seekers and refugees have minimal opportunities in finding employment and that is why most of them start their own small businesses. There is no equality regarding economic entitlements by both local South Africans and refugees, and asylum seekers. It is unfortunate that such perceptions contribute to the hardening of attitudes towards vulnerable black asylum seekers and refugees in the country. Some South Africans feed on misinformation when they believe that asylum seekers and refugees pose a threat to national security or diminish job opportunities because the latter have most often lesser opportunities for advancement than the former (Kabamba, 2020). Crush’s (2008) study disclosed that these beliefs were unfounded. In terms of small businesses such as hawking run by migrants in Gauteng, it was discovered that such enterprises created an average of three local South African jobs. All these occurrences have pushed many researchers including Crush (2008) and Kabamba (2020) to question whether the experience of exile for South African freedom fighters bears any resonance or meaning among the South African populace. Xenophobic attacks are destructive to the construction of healthy human relationships within communities for both the perpetrators and the victims. The absence of safety and harmonious cohabitation hinders socio-economic and community development as well. South Africa cannot have healthy human relationships when a part of its population, in this regard, refugees and asylum seekers, seriously need protection that is hardly forthcoming. Kabamba (2020) states that the current condition of Southern African asylum seekers and refugees constitutes an evil in an unhealthy society that every well-meaning human being is invited to join in a concerted effort to resolve. The xenophobia or Afrophobia as others call it has been a toxic mix of deep-seated prejudices, acts of wanton criminality, some instances of misinformation and false or dated news, and the consequences of the many social pathologies that plague South Africa (Pearson, 2019). The attacks on refugees and asylum seekers are a sign that the South African government has failed to enact effective policing and protect foreign nationals and their property. The most vicious xenophobic attack that destroyed healthy human relationships and trust took place in 2008, 2015 and 2019 (Pearson, 2019). In the 2015 xenophobic attacks, many people criticised the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, as the architect of the violent attacks against refugees and asylum seekers due to his speech on 20 March 2015 in Pongola. He claimed: The time for vision has come. I request our South African government to help us. Let us get our house in order and clean our land of lice [referring to sub-Saharan African foreigners] …We need to remove all itching bedbugs and lay them bare in the sun, they will choose to hide because of the heat of the sun… We request that all foreigners should take their baggage and be sent back…We have very good relationships with some African countries, but we should not have the type of relationships that will turn us into weaklings such that we end being said to be holier than others in Africa. Let us not be holy because they have their

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laws, we should also have our own laws. The police are the backbone of the safety of the country, they are the answer to a community living in fear of crime. The police are the first to hear about problems, because they work within the communities. That is why I say we must deal with our lice (Khumalo, 2015, p. 1).

Even though following this speech, there was widespread xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg, the Parliamentary Ad hoc Committee on Probing Violence against Foreign Nationals ignored King Zwelithini’s Hate Speech as a catalyst for the violent attacks. Khumalo (2015) states that the Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) were disappointed by the Parliamentary Ad hoc Committee due to their lack of adequate analysis on xenophobia and especially King Zwelithini’s role in catalysing the attacks. This author wonders whether if King Zwelithini is aware that some refugees and asylum seekers, who are called foreigners, are part of his people that fled KwaZulu-Natal during Mfecane (The Crushing) and other Ngoni Wars around 1821?

4.10  T  he South African Government’s Response to Xenophobia/Afrophobia The government has responded in various ways regarding the current conflicts and xenophobia. These include amendments to the Refugees Act of 1998 and the latest amendment came into effect on 1 January 2020. In this policy, there is restriction to work opportunities, establishing small businesses, education and they have increased the powers of the Minister of Home Affairs in retracting the refugee status and deportation of vulnerable people. Even though the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the attacks on foreign nationals and said that they had damaged the economy and confidence in the country, the problem is that at the grassroot level, not much awareness raising has been made to accept and protect refugees and asylum seekers (Ramaphosa, 2019). Ramaphosa told the nation that there was no excuse for xenophobia or any form of violence against foreigners including refugees and asylum seekers. The presence of xenophobia and other forms of violence against refugees and asylum seekers made some South Africans doubt the very foundation of the South African democratic society, and its commitment to human rights and human dignity, equality, peace and justice (Ramaphosa, 2019). In his speech, President Ramaphosa said that no amount of anger, frustration and grievance could justify xenophobia, attacks on the homes and businesses of foreign nationals. He further went on to say that the people from Southern Africa, among others, stood with South Africa during the struggle against apartheid and that ­apartheid is destroyed, we all must live together in harmony and enhance healthy human relationships. Gauteng Premier David Makhura in his address to more than 500 affected refugees and asylum seekers said that the violence against foreigners was not xenophobia but criminality. The problem with such statements is that solutions will have to


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be related to crime and as such xenophobia could continue to take place as it is the case (Patel & Essa, 2017). The absence of convictions in cases of xenophobic violence against refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa strips the government’s approach through the criminal justice system of any efficacy (Patel & Essa, 2017). For instance, lack of adequate preventative interventions by the South African government in 2008 and 2015, became the fertile ground for the xenophobic vilolence against sub-Saharan Africans to occur (Patel & Essa, 2017). The South African government fails to deal with Afrophobia since the most destructive conflicts are based on the fear of African immigrants, which Matsinhe (2011) calls black-onblack violence. Many so-called dark-skinned people have lost their lives or suffered grievous bodily harm as the government sticks to their narrative of criminality, which does not end violence or put perpetrators in prison. Every time, before the xenophobic violence, there are signs that take place, which serve as red flags. For instance, before the 2008 and 2015 violence against sub-Saharan Africans, national media reported some incidences of xenophobic violence but no preventative interventions by the government were taken (Noyoo, 2018). Given the foregoing, the South African government should lead in positive transformation of the country, where both refugees and asylum seekers, and South Africans come together to deliberate on current challenges and decide to take collective action to address such challenges for their socio-economic well-being, peace and tranquillity.

4.11  T  he Call for Ubuntu Philosophy to Enhance Healthy Human Relationships The pre-colonial indigenous polities and its their forms of care and social cohesion changed with the arrival of the missionaries and the colonialists in South Africa. The missionaries and colonialists were instrumental in establishing a new way of life. As soon as the majority of South Africans during the pre-colonial era converted to Christianity and others were Westernised, thus adopting new lifestyle and values, the practice of kinship and African hospitality system was diluted. The dilution of Ubuntu, which is an African Philosophy that precedes colonialism, increased the vulnerability of the poor and migrants as there was less source of support to mitigate poverty, vulnerability, cementing African hospitality and enhancing healthy human relationships. The pre-colonial period refers to the time before the settlers set foot in South Africa. Ancient tribes in pre-colonial South Africa actively put in place indigenous forms of care and African hospitality. South Africa is a blend of many tribes/clans. What was common among the tribes was the practice of Ubuntu within their clan/ tribe/kingdom. Pre-colonial South Africa was led by tribal authorities also known as tribal governments with different social functions as Hidden (1951) puts it. The traditional government such as headmen/women, chiefs, group village men/women and traditional authority were expected to organise a whole range of social services

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within their jurisdictions. These traditional authorities had also courts that could try anyone not behaving according to the set standards including mistreating foreign people seeking refuge and protection. Guided by Ubuntu, key to pre-­colonial social policy and African hospitality systems, the community in general and family institution were the primary caregiver and the first line of defence against people’s deprivation and violent attacks. To summarise it all, Ubuntu has been part of African education, passed orally from generation to generation, and as such Ubuntu is not knowledge that an individual is born with, but what an individual acquires throughout his/her life; therefore, education plays a critical role in transferring the African philosophy of life (Letseka, 2000). This African philosophy that views human beings as more holistic in nature and see people from a collective perspective is usually contrasted with the Western view that emphasises a more individualistic orientation towards life. When an African deviates from communalism, kindness, sharing, being part of the extended family in terms of responsibilities and rebels, fundamental respect in the rights of others is labelled as a ‘Westerner’ (referring to a person with a lifestyle foreign to Africa). It is generally agreed that pre-colonial institutions had a positive impact on development (Bolt & Gardner, 2015). Among Southern African countries including South Africa, the concept of Ubuntu as a way of life has been predominant during precolonial and colonial periods. The African hospitality is grounded on Ubuntu philosophy that at least theoretically speaking strives to make an asylum seeker and a refugee feel welcomed and a sense of belonging among fellow Africans. We need to admit that something has gone wrong with our African hospitality as we have made refugees and asylum seekers a problem to be solved and not fellow kinsmen and women to be welcomed, respected, loved and protected. The unwillingness of some South Africans to locally integrate the refugee and asylum seekers and meting out violent attacks against them only militates against and compromises African hospitality. It can be argued that xenophobia is an indicator related to unhealthy human relationships existing in South Africa. It has, over the years, overridden Ubuntu which has also given way to individualism in South Africa. Xenophobia is inhumane and thus questions the humanness of some black people. Can we talk about true humanness or Ubuntu when healthy human relationships are destroyed among black people themselves? There is so much fear and distrust of each other in society because of all the violent attacks. This is not conducive to social development. Social development requires a series of conditions such as healthy human relationships, rights of individuals to be upheld and a peaceful setting to materialise. However, with limited available resources, even the pre-requisites to the former seem unachievable. The South African society needs to go back, at least, to some of the basic tenets of Ubuntu. It can be noted that the knowledge of Ubuntu is acquired throughout one’s life and, therefore, holistic education plays a fundamental role in passing down this African philosophy to younger generations and across communities irrespective of their citizenry (Letseka, 2000). Despite the evolution of social structures in African culture, Ubuntu is examined through characteristics such as care, thoughtfulness,


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consideration, compassion, understanding, hospitality, social maturity and sensibility (Le Roux, 2000). Hence, Ubuntu is meant to promote humanness and the common good of the family and the community, altogether making the two entities inseparable. The point being made here is that the community comprises individuals and what unites the individuals with a community is healthy human relationships. It is only when there is a healthy human relationship that a community can be strong and developmental. Adhering to the principles of Ubuntu can assist in fostering healthy human relationships. African states are mostly led by Africans who are fully aware of Ubuntu in one way or other, and yet not many of them try to advocate the incorporation of Ubuntu values into their policies maybe largely due to imperialisation. The institutionalisation of the Ubuntu values into social policies of the South African state would be beneficial to curb the violent attacks against refugees and asylum seekers in this current era. Failing which, refugees and asylum seekers will find it very difficult to thrive in South Africa, and restoration of their healthy human relationships may not occur in this host country.

4.12  Social Capital and Healthy Human Relationship Morrow (2001) considers social capital as the social context in which an individual functions daily and the extent to which asylum seekers and refugees experience a sense of belonging in their social environment. Social capital is central in understanding the human relationship within the society. The individual and the community are infused together as such one cannot be explained without the other as we have seen above with the Ubuntu philosophy. Healthy human relationship provides meaning to one’s world view. Social capital is intimately associated with various networks where human interaction takes place based on trust. Asylum seekers and refugees being aware of their situations from their countries of origin, especially factors that forced them to leave and find refuge in a host country, trust is central in having healthy human relationship. There is a need of trusting each other in every society before engaging in social development. People learn to trust, and they can also learn to distrust in both human relationships, organisations and institutions in which they live, and of the moral social orders, that determine the fundamental understandings of their lives (Björnberg, 2011). Broken trust breeds unhealthy human relationships that are toxic to any development in a society, and this is made worse with ugly experiences of asylum seekers and refugees. Resilience help asylum seekers and refugees to resist adversities that they experience which are harmful to their holistic well-being. Social capital whether understood as resources that can be of benefit to asylum seekers and refugees or as the value that they can derive from social structures in order to realise their wellbeing, it must entail norms of reciprocity, trust and involving positive emotion (Coleman, 1990; Field, 2003). In the context of South Africa, social capital has been as a result of the existence of healthy human relationships within the society even though very often the human relationship has been challenging.

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4.13  Social Development and Healthy Human Relationships It is important to promote healthy human relationships as they allow people to participate in development in general, and social development in particular. The outcome of social development is to improve people’s quality of life. However, for this to take place, people must be at the centre of developmental activities. It is only when healthy human relationships are harnessed and maintained that people’s potentials are realised (Nürnberger, 1999). A healthy human relationship enables human beings to assume control of their destiny (Gutierrez, 1973). The community which recognises healthy human relationships is better located in achieving social development. In our modern communities, it is necessary to build up structures of relationships that go beyond temporary differences. Thus self-­identity, participation and community consciousness are some of the characteristics of social development, because they contribute towards a fuller and richer quality of life. As human beings, we ought to participate in the communities in which we live and work, for the betterment of that community – irrespective of nationality, but for this to take place, there ought to be healthy human relationships. Sometimes it is not easy to have healthy human relationships, as such it is very important to conscientise people. It is important to note, when people are conscientised, they develop a sense of self-actualisation. This is so because ‘… the theory of conscientization offers practical proposals for raising the … awareness of poor people and for organizing them to take control of their own affairs’ (Midgley, 1995, p.  120). It cannot be doubted, therefore, that conscientisation is a major component of community participation and social development. This conscientisation is capable in resulting in the empowerment of local South Africans and refugees and asylum seekers. Coetzee and Graaff (1996) refer to empowerment as a process whereby people take positive control of their lives and being involved in collective action in a constructive manner. It is anticipated that through participation, South Africans and refugees can easily work towards sharing a common goal for social change and cohabitation. An attitudinal change should come first before having healthy human relationships as argued by Liebenberg and Stewart (1997). Instead of following predetermined plans, social development agents and the community should mutually identify, and together create, the guidelines for their action to enhance healthy human relationships (Freire, 1993). In such a synthesis, social development agents and the community are somehow reborn in new knowledge and new action. Social development agents should avoid organising themselves apart from the people, should they be local South Africans or refugees and asylum seekers. Whatever contradiction to the community may occur fortuitously, due to certain historical conditions, it must be solved by the community and not augmented by the cultural invasion of an imposed human relationship (Freire, 1993). This is easy to happen when certain individuals or groups consider themselves as experts and thus can use top-down methodologies to solve violent conflicts between locals, refugees and asylum seekers. Bearing in mind what has been discussed earlier, as regards attitudes and perceptions of locals, and the


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negative impressions regarding refugees and asylum seekers, for any sustainable human relationship to take place, there is a need to change the social system. It is through changing the mind-sets of the broader South African society, especially those people who do not value the rights of refugees and asylum seekers that we can enhance healthy human relationships. Furthermore, it is everyone’s responsibility to work for healthy human relationships that humanise and enable people to lead the type of lives that they wish for and deserve. There is surely a need for a new mind-set of people to recognise human beings as subjects and not objects, or as other people to be used as means to attain their selfish goals. This is in line with Kantian Ethics, whereby it is unethical to use other people as a means to attain one’s goals. It is not impossible that some individuals behind xenophobic or Afrophobic attacks use that as means to attain their desired outcome or benefits. It is allowed to have ethical personal development where an individual pursues the positive change from one state to another, involving consciously, the quest for personal growth such as expanding one’s capability, knowledge or skills. Personal development enables individual refugees and asylum seekers, and South Africans to have self-awareness, sense of direction, motivation and continued hunger for more personal growth. Personal development is directly linked to economic opportunities, and this is a catalyst for boosting community development. Personal development forms part of community development and fosters healthy human relationships. Economic opportunities extended to asylum seekers and refugees contribute to an increase in their quality of life and improved social conditions. This is mainly because such opportunities enable refugees and asylum seekers to access an income which allows them to attain social development (Chagunda, 2014). Just like the Ubuntu concept that states, that ‘you are because I am’ (collective philosophy), social development is concerned with both the individual and community/society as it aims at improving people’s quality of life. Since people are social beings, their interconnectedness is critical as it forms part of the success of society. Central to this interconnectedness lies healthy human relationships which are critical to the progress and well-being of each member within South Africa. Just because my being is connected to the being of the rest in society, any social development activity requires the removal of ­obstacles such as xenophobia or Afrophobia so that asylum seekers, refugees and South Africans can journey towards their destiny with dignity. While all stakeholders have responsibility towards social development and healthy human relationships, the government that is put in power to represent citizens has an obligation to equitably redistribute the public goods and help both refugees and citizens move forward on their path to dignity and self-sufficiency.

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4.14  Conclusion Various institutions such as governments, private sector, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and academic institutions have an important role in enhancing healthy human relationships, especially among vulnerable groups, such as refugees and asylum seekers. Politicians and traditional leaders should demonstrate constructive leadership, such as the one that encourages tolerance, trust, acceptance, rule of law and development. Local South Africans ought to be made aware that refugees and asylum seekers are human beings just like them. They must learn that it is just unhealthy human relationships, violent conflict and other incidences that forced them to leave their countries of origin in search of refuge – they are not a problem to be solved but partners in social development. Refugees and asylum seekers should always bear in mind, regardless of the situation in which they find themselves, that they must obey the laws of the county and address their unhappiness with relevant officials in a peaceful manner. It must be everyone’s responsibility to pursue all what can be done to achieve healthy human relationships. This chapter argued that refugees and asylum seekers from sub-Saharan African countries experienced hardships and exposure to violent attacks by some South Africans, and due to this, their healthy human relationships were disrupted. It proposed social development interventions that could enhance human relationships between refugees and asylum seekers and locals.

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Chapter 5

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships with Sub-Saharan African Immigrants and South Africans Ndangwa Noyoo, Thabisa Matsea, and Nomcebo Dlamini

5.1  Introduction This chapter discusses the promotion of healthy relationships in post-apartheid South Africa that is increasingly becoming turbulent each passing year. The volatility and fluidity of the South African society can be partly ascribed to changes in the economy and demographic patterns, which also mirror increases in the numbers of sub-Saharan immigrants in South Africa. The South Africa of 1994 is not the same country of 2020. For instance, the population of the country has increased from 41 million in 1994 to 59 million. According to the mid-year population estimates of Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) of 2019, the youth (aged 18–34) constitute almost a third of the population (17.84 million) in South Africa, with 9.04 million males and 8.80 million females. Almost 30% of youth (5.10 million or 28.6%) reside in Gauteng (where Johannesburg, the financial centre is located), with 3.47 million in KwaZulu-Natal (19.4%), making up almost half of all youth in South Africa. The Free State (4.7%) and the Northern Cape (2.0%) have the lowest proportions of youth (StatsSA, 2019a). The internal population dynamics point to a young population. This in itself could be a positive thing in regard to the youth dividend or ‘youth bulge’. According to StatsSA (2017, p. 8), the concept of a demographic dividend is based on the link between a country’s demographic profile and its potential for an N. Noyoo (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] T. Matsea Department of Social Work, University of Venda (UNIVEN), Thohoyandou, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] N. Dlamini Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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increase in economic growth. Typically, starting from a position of a high fertility rate and a relatively large young population, if there is a decline in the country’s fertility rate over time, there follows an increase in its working-age ratio, which is the population of working age (15–64 years), as a percentage of the total population (StatsSA, 2017). In addition, there is a corresponding decrease in the dependency ratio (those below 15 and over 64 as a percentage of the total population). On the assumption that there is positive growth in the total population, a higher working-­ age ratio results in more labour resources becoming available to devote to production. Furthermore, the lower dependency ratio means that, at least in relative terms, less time and energy are diverted away from productive workplace activities to care for the young and the elderly. The resulting boost to economic growth, if it takes place, is known as the demographic dividend (StatsSA, 2017). However, it must be noted that an increase in the working-age ratio does not automatically lead to a demographic dividend. Rather, it presents an opportunity for higher economic growth, which may be achieved in full or in part or not at all. For the demographic dividend to reach its full potential, favourable socio-economic conditions are required. If socio-economic conditions are unfavourable, a demographic dividend could remain elusive. There is also the danger of a high working-­ age ratio becoming severely problematic if there is insufficient job creation. High unemployment aggravates poverty and inequality and raises the risk of social unrest (StatsSA, 2017). South Africa is not experiencing a demographic dividend at all. Youth unemployment (for the category aged 15–34 years) stands at 63.4%. However, the percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased from 32.4% in the first quarter of 2018 to 33.2% in the first quarter of 2019. In this age group, the NEET rate for females was higher than that of their male counterparts in both years (StatsSA, 2019b). Furthermore, migration of people from within and outside the country not only increases the numbers of people residing in South Africa but adds pressure on existing resources and on the government’s ability to redistribute them. To this end, the country’s population is projected to increase due, in part, to migration flows. Thus, for the period 2016–2021, Gauteng and the Western Cape are estimated to experience the largest inflow of migrants of approximately, 1,048,440 and 311,004, respectively, exhibiting a strong urban pull. In terms of population spread, Gauteng has the largest share of the South African population, with approximately 14.7 million people (25.4%) living in this province. KwaZulu-Natal is the province with the second largest population, with 11.4 million people (19.7%) living in this province (StatsSA, 2018). Migrants from sub-­ Saharan Africa also seem to follow the same migration patterns of the local population in that there is a strong urban bias in this type of migration. This is due to the fact that most people think that they can find better opportunities to advance themselves in the urban centres. With an economy that is not doing so well, this situation is putting pressure on South African households as they try to meet their needs. As locals find it more difficult to make ends meet, their predisposition towards immigrants becomes more hostile. This is what breeds discontent and manifests itself in open conflict, xenophobia and xenophobic attacks. Nonetheless, it is

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important to note that immigrants are not a homogenous group as they can be categorised further into refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants. However, what is not in contention here is that the push factors behind the flight of many sub-­ Saharan Africans to South Africa emanate from conflicts or dire economic circumstances in their homelands. These people fled to South Africa in search of peace and security. Nevertheless, some people are beginning to be hostile towards immigrants from this part of Africa. In the main, the spotlight remains fixed on this category of immigrants as they are the ones who are usually targeted by locals whenever there are outbreaks of xenophobic violent acts. Many of those who escaped conflicts and death in their homelands seem to be the most visible immigrants in South Africa. Also, they are the ones who easily gravitate to the lower income sections of the society such as the informal settlements spread across the country. Here, there is intense competition for scarce resources, social services and other life chances. Sub-Sahara is a region which has undergone various forms of insurrection, civil wars and conflicts, which have served to make people flee their homelands and search for better opportunities, not only in South Africa, but other parts of Africa and even the world. However, due to its affluent status, South Africa seems to attract a sizeable number of immigrants from sub-­ Saharan Africa. Again, this view is a bit jaundiced as it is mainly locals who think that South Africa is the only country that has a large number of immigrants. These immigrants are both legal and illegal. They ply their trades in both the formal and informal economies. There is a wide spectrum where these individuals operate. The next section tries to delve a bit deeper into the plight of migrants residing in South Africa and attempts are made to proffer some solutions on how healthy human relationships could be engendered between the locals and the immigrants.

5.2  Some Definitional Issues When discussing social phenomena in the social sciences, it is important to use concepts or terminologies that are clearly defined. The area that is under examination, where most African immigrants in South Africa come from, is sub-Saharan Africa. The focus on this landscape is necessitated by the fact that individuals from this area seem to be the main targets of xenophobia and xenophobic violence, by some sections of South Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is literally the region on the African continent that is below the Sahara Desert and the Maghreb region or North Africa. Immigrants from this region experience extreme xenophobia in South Africa, which can result in death. According to the Oxford on-line dictionary (2020), an immigrant is a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. The Department of Home Affairs (2015) defines an asylum seeker as a person who fled his or her country of origin and is seeking recognition and protection as a refugee in the Republic of South Africa and whose application is still under consideration. In case of a negative decision on such an application, the individual has to voluntarily leave the country or be deported. However, a refugee is a person who has been


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granted asylum status and protection in terms of Section 24 of the Refugees Act No. 130 of 1998. Xenophobia can be understood as an attitude against non-natives in a given population. Xenophobia could be targeted at any group of people regarded as ‘strange’ or ‘deviant’. While racism and xenophobia often appear together, they are not synonymous (Widfeldt, 2003). In South Africa, xenophobia is expressed through extreme violent acts that are meted out to mainly Africans from sub-Saharan Africa, by a good number of locals. The phenomenon referred to as xenophobic violence has become synonymous with South Africa due to it regularity and intensity.

5.3  U  npacking Human Relationships Between Locals and Sub-Saharan African Immigrants in Local Communities The world recently watched with dismay as South African citizens violently attacked sub-Saharan immigrants in communities across the country after a confrontation that started off as a fight with immigrants believed to have been selling drugs to youngsters in the city of Pretoria. In South Africa, there is a widespread perception of immigrants being criminals who break the law by illegally crossing a sovereign border (Alfaro-Velcamp & Shaw, 2016, p. 984), entering the country to ‘steal jobs’ and destroy the nation while engaging in malicious practices such as human trafficking, as well as selling drugs to local citizens. However, it can be seen that most immigrants gravitate towards South African communities for consumption-related purposes which are triggered by the need to access amenities, goods or services (Bell & Ward, 2000). Therefore, it seems that immigration has become overwhelming for the locals who often find themselves competing for the same resources with immigrants, and thus triggering and perpetuating toxic relationships. In comparison with other African countries that have immigrant populations, South Africa does not have refugee camps and allows foreigners to integrate into South African society (Alfaro-Velcamp & Shaw, 2016). As noted earlier, immigrants from African countries gravitate towards mostly lower income residential areas such as townships and informal settlements. A common reason for this occurrence is that these areas offer more affordable housing, which is a crucial settlement choice for people who are escaping poverty and come to the country with virtually only the clothes on their backs. It is a viable location to start building their lives over, as the cost of living is more manageable in these areas than in affluent areas. Immigrants can afford to live in these areas, but so too do locals. They too, due to the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country, are often left no choice but to reside in these underprivileged neighbourhoods. Characteristics of these neighbourhoods include informal housing, housing that is cramped together to compensate for overpopulation, lack of adequate resources, high unemployment and poverty-stricken households. For example, in Durban, hotspots for xenophobic attacks have included the informal settlements of Cato Manor and Bottlebrush,

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where foreigners have set up shacks amongst those of citizens and the Central Business District (CBD), where foreigners and citizens compete in the informal marketplace (Hickel, 2014). Interaction between locals and foreign nationals in spatially depressed neighbourhoods often results in competition for spatial resources such as residential and business accommodation, as well as economic resources within these under-­ resourced neighbourhoods. As mentioned in the first section of this chapter, migration flows are linked to population growth. In this regard, population movements occur in two dimensions, namely space and time (Bell & Ward, 2000). Immigrants, due to the nature of urgency, move to locations at a time when locals are scraping for resources due to high unemployment. The spaces they move into are also spatially depressed, in that they do not offer much opportunities for productive activities or wealth creation. Therefore, these spaces that immigrants use for habitat and socialisation are already occupied by locals who are faced with difficulties of navigating the realities of sharing them, including sharing the meagre resources they have, with immigrants. This results in contestations for resources within these locations. However, even in the CBDs of the sprawling metropolitan areas, where there is opportunity for generating income through employment as well as running small businesses, competition is stiff and can result in conflict. These contestations are between primarily black South Africans residing in the townships and sometimes rural areas, and immigrants from the African continent (Noyoo & Sobantu, 2019). Curiously, white and Asian foreigners have not been targets of xenophobic attacks because they are commonly viewed as tourists or investors, whereas immigrants from African countries are viewed as competitors for jobs (in both formal and informal sectors) and a drain on South Africa’s resources. They are also perceived as drug dealers, traffickers of children, exploiters of the informal economy and thieves stealing opportunities from South Africans, as earlier noted (Alfaro-Velcamp & Shaw, 2016). It can be argued that the manner in which resources are allocated impinges on healthy human relationships and the need for survival. What is also crucial here is that integration of immigrants into these communities is not that easy, as there is hostility and animosity towards them, which act as barriers to their integration. Noyoo (2018) indicates that immigrants’ different way of life has often created difficulties for them to fit in the communities they reside in, that is, in the host countries. This is because of their values which are distinctly different from those of the local people. They tend to have a higher work ethic that sees them yield faster results than the locals. Due to working harder, and more often than not, for less money, due to desperation for survival, they find themselves at odds with locals. To this end, immigrants are perceived as undermining the economic opportunities of local citizens by both outcompeting South African–owned businesses in the informal economy, and by undercutting the labour market by working for rates far below the minimum wage (Hickel, 2014). As livelihoods become ever more precarious, competition over jobs, housing and retail has reached extreme levels. In the face of this mounting competition, people seek to leverage whatever social distinctions are most readily available to them in order to lay claim to diminishing resources


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(Comaroff & Comaroff, 2009). In the context of South Africa, those who believe they have the right to benefit from the fruits of liberation draw lines between themselves and the immigrants, who they believe should not have any right to access the country’s resources. This reaction, on the part of locals, may result in the creation of an attitude of ‘them’ and ‘us’, which may explain why foreign nationals are often distinguished from locals and referred to by terms such as Makwerere – a derogatory term for foreigners of mostly African origin and onomatopoeia for someone who speaks unintelligibly, or a ‘babbler’ (Amusan & Mchunu, 2017; Hickel, 2014). Such a distinguished separation may make integration of foreign nationals with locals all the more difficult to navigate, and likely to result in unhealthy relationships (Dube, 2019). Most sub-Saharan Africans are branded as ‘illegal immigrants’ by the locals irrespective of the fact that many of them are residing legally in the country, which has resulted in black locals fighting with black foreigners (Noyoo, 2018). In communities, humans produce social spaces with dialectic social relationships and space (Lefebvre, 1991), which become their distinct identity. Community members who take on specific places produce meanings which are culturally created, stored, disseminated and communicated. Immigrants come into such spaces from different social spaces in their countries of origin, with their own dialects and ways of life, and ways of creating space. This results in an infusion of local social relations with international ones, and production of space with dilution of distinctly different cultures and traditions. Settlements such as townships get infused with local and foreign shops, trading of both local and foreign goods, and even restaurants catering to the immigrants by serving food from their host countries. Under these circumstances, tensions slowly brew due to competing for space, belonging and sharing the little resources locals have with immigrants. Although coming into South Africa provides much needed opportunities for immigrants, such as refuge from war and famine, it poses a threat to the opportunities for locals because the same meagre opportunities for locals have to be shared with them. The social reality and relationships within these spaces are products of the interrelations of people in society, and these form a foundation for social space and human action. The human action is the outcome of past actions, and therefore social space is what permits fresh actions to occur. In this regard, some immigrants may be easily  acceptabted in communities, such as those  from Lesotho, Botswana and eSwatini, while prohibiting others from countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is a paradox in itself. This may be due to the fact that dialects spoken in the former countries are acceptable in South Africa and are common in South African Communities. Hence, social space interrelates everything that is produced in a community (Lefebvre, 1991), and therefore if there is tension due to resource scarcity, the interrelation will be negative, and translate into violent attacks. Boundaries get formed and are discursively marked by a distinction between citizens and non-citizens, communicated in the form of social and cultural practice such as weddings and religious preferences, as well as physical demarcations, where in one part of the community, there is increased clustering of the

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non-citizens, creating a community of immigrants within a community of locals. It is within these sub-communities, where foreign languages may be spoken and ways of life of the immigrants may be practised, and thus generating both curiosity and interest from the locals. Curiosity alone is not what leads to the breakdown of relationships between the immigrants and the locals, but once there are unmet needs, then tolerance of the immigrants gets tested. Although South African nationals may be accommodating, once faced with the need to protect their insufficient resources and jobs, they become hostile and violent towards immigrants. This often results in the locals seeing the presence of immigrants as destructive and destabilising to their space and abilities to access resources (Alfaro-Velcamp & Shaw, 2016). This situation, whereby unhealthy human relationships exist between locals and immigrants, is not conducive to the country’s stability and dilutes the government’s efforts aimed at nation-building and social cohesion. There is thus a need to build bridges between these communities to foster harmonious relationships, which will be beneficial to all who live in South Africa. Hostility, suspicion and stereotyping, will only create an atmosphere that is fertile for more discord and strife to thrive and which might even heighten problems between South Africans of different races and ethnic groups. There is therefore need to foster healthy human relationships between locals and sub-Saharan immigrants. This chapter proposes social work interventions and approaches as a response to promoting healthy human relationships between South Africans and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

5.4  S  ocial Work’s Response to Promoting Healthy Human Relationships With its mission of advocating on behalf of the oppressed, marginalised and vulnerable, social work is poised to respond to the challenges faced by immigrants in South Africa in a much nuanced way. Social work is also renowned for its anti-­ oppressive practices, anti-discriminatory foci and an emphasis on diversity. In this vein, this chapter argues that social work should be at the forefront of dealing with negative situations that immigrants find themselves in the country. The persistent violent acts directed towards immigrants in South Africa are not only a cause for concern, but their regularity is alarming and should not be merely taken as random acts of violence. After the last spate of violence in August 2019, some immigrants could not take it anymore and left South Africa for their countries of origin. Ironically, the constant dehumanisation that goes hand-in-hand with the violent attacks forces them to relive their past traumatic experiences, which they had escaped from in the first place. As such, social work’s involvement in promoting healthy human relationships between South Africans and immigrants from sub-­ Saharan Africa has to become an urgent matter. The next section highlights crucial aspects of social work’s response in promoting healthy human relationships.


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5.5  Promoting Social Inclusion and Participation Social inclusion and participation are important for promoting healthy human relationships as they foster a sense of belonging and social connectedness. Both aspects are regarded as important for the integration of immigrants (Spaaij, 2012). Social inclusion is regarded as a process in which barriers are removed to create equal opportunities for everyone, especially the marginalised and vulnerable populations, to actively participate in activities that will help them improve their quality of life (Cardo, 2014). Most often, immigrants are marginalised and excluded in the social environments in which they sought refuge. Their exposure to discriminatory attitudes and behaviours intensifies exclusion and hinder access to existing opportunities and available resources. The structural characteristics of various social institutions and systems within the host country contribute to the inequalities between the local people and immigrants, thereby hindering social inclusion. There is strong evidence that shows that, in response to the increasing numbers of immigrants, some countries tighten immigration policies to regulate access to the country with the aim of restricting entry. This prevents immigrants from participating in issues that affect them, hence furthering marginalisation and exclusion (Schick et al., 2018). Therefore, social work’s involvement in various initiatives to promote social inclusion and participation of immigrants is important. Social workers recognise the importance of human relationships in strengthening individuals and communities, contributing to a sense of identity, belonging and general well-­ being. Guided by the Ethics of the profession and the founding provisions of the South African Constitution, social workers have a responsibility to promote social inclusion by untangling barriers that contributed to the marginalisation of people. They can play an advocacy role to fight unjust policies and help shape societal values towards the promotion of justice for immigrants. They are equipped with various skills that they can use to mobilise resources for immigrants and build coalitions to create equal opportunities and improve immigrants’ well-being (Congress, 2017).

5.6  Mental Health Interventions for Immigrants The process of migration is stressful before, during and after migration as each of these phases is associated with specific risks and exposures that have significant impacts on mental health (Pumariega, Rothe, & Pumariega, 2005; Silove, Steel, & Watters, 2000). The experiences in one’s country of origin may prompt the decision to migrate. Although some people migrate by choice in pursuit of a better life or for joining their families, most immigrants are forced into migration by political instability, famine, wars, natural disasters as well as other life-threatening adversities (Congress, 2016; Pumariega et  al., 2005). Furthermore, although post-migration initially brings hope and optimism for immigrants, this does not guarantee a better life, as they soon come to the realisation that their expectations are not met. Evidence shows that the changes that immigrants make and various challenges they face place

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them at a heightened risk of developing mental health problems. This is attributable to navigating complex systems, diverse cultures and adjusting to a new environment with uncertainties about outcome whilst trying to establish themselves (Bhugra, 2004; Davis, Basten, & Frattini, 2006; Edge, Newbold, & McKeary, 2014). Although reportedly resilient, there is mounting evidence that shows that immigrants suffer from specific life-long mental health problems with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety as the most prevalent. These are associated with prolonged exposure to traumatic adversities such as violence and torture (Congress, 2016; Pumariega et al., 2005) and rejection, discrimination and unfavourable living conditions (Montgomery & Foldspang, 2008) in the host country. Violent acts that are perpetrated against immigrants in the host country result in re-traumatisation and exacerbate the risk of persistent mental health problems. In addition, immigrants experience loss associated with separation from immediate family, weakened kinship networks, the reconstruction of social networks and changes in personal ties. Another factor is the failure to meet family responsibilities due to the move from different socio-economic systems (Congress, 2017; Simich, Hamilton, & Baya, 2006; Walsh, 2007). The recent violent acts directed at immigrants in South Africa are proof of post-­ migration factors that affect mental health. The effect of these factors varies from one person to another, depending on their severity and the meaning attached to them (Kirmayer et al., 2011). This poses new challenges to mental health service delivery in social work. Hence, social workers should take into consideration the uniqueness of individual circumstances to enable the provision of effective mental health intervention (Congress, 2017). Given that social workers’ focus is on improving social functioning, research suggests adopting a holistic approach that will incorporate all aspects to enhance the immigrants’ quality of life (Palmer, 2007). This includes providing various mental health interventions such as trauma counselling for individuals, families and groups; cognitive behavioural therapy as well as psychosocial education to facilitate long-term recovery (Boisvert, 2006). Provision of psychosocial support to immigrants is crucial as it could help them deal with their traumatic experiences and reduce PTSD, anxiety and depressive symptoms (Alfadhli & Drury, 2016). Studies examining the impact of trauma and related interventions place emphasis on the inclusion of the family in the treatment process even if they were not directly affected. This is based on the systems theory’s notion that what affects an individual has impact on the family. It is also believed that the family is an important protective factor that plays a significant role as a source of social support that neutralises the effects of trauma (Figley & Figley, 2009; Zagelbaum & Carlson, 2011).

5.7  Creating Cultural Awareness to Foster Acceptance Culture is a critical determinant of people’s belonging and origin. ‘Culture provides the shared knowledge system that enables members of a society to recognise fellow members and to co-ordinate their actions with one another’ (Read, 2003, p. 32). It


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is regarded as the norms and values of a certain group transferred from one generation to the other. It is a social concept that is learned through interaction with other people. Culture is regarded as an important identity and heritage that should be preserved (Cohen, 2009; Rathje, 2009). It is important to mention the fact that an increase in the number of immigrants in South Africa has made it a multicultural nation, adding to the already existing diversity in the nation. As such, the arrival of immigrants may be misunderstood and seen as a threat to the local culture and heritage. This affects the way in which the host community receives immigrants. The literature on culture and diversity reports that lack of cultural awareness contributes to misunderstandings and conflict between immigrants and host communities. It is argued in this chapter that misunderstanding of culture can affect social cohesion and integration of immigrants. It can also affect interpersonal trust, resulting in hostility towards immigrants (Alesina & La Ferrara, 2005; Tolsma & van der Meer, 2017). Given the multicultural outcome of migration in most countries, creating cultural awareness has become essential in dealing with challenges associated with immigrants in the host communities. ‘Cultural awareness is defined as understanding culture and being aware of the different beliefs and ideas’ (İşcan, Karagöz, & Konyar, 2017, p.  54). Evidence shows that cultural awareness can be used to reduce prejudices and break stereotypical beliefs. It exposes individuals to different worlds and offers an opportunity to view these worlds differently (İşisağ, 2010). Cultural awareness fosters acceptance of diversity and builds harmonious relationships between people from different backgrounds. It also enhances social cohesion and allows inter-groups to work together in addressing new challenges (Baltes, Hernandez, & Collins, 2015). To this end, social workers have the responsibility to deal with prejudices and help create an environment that is inclusive in South Africa. However, this requires culturally competent and sensitive social workers who have knowledge of, and are aware of, various cultures of their communities. This means applying a principle of acceptance and respecting individuality by acknowledging people from diverse backgrounds, create and foster an environment that discourages discrimination and is conducive to their well-being (NASW, 2015; Sousa & de D’Almeida, 2016). Cultural competence includes dealing with one’s preconceptions about certain cultures. Hence, the provision of social work services that are inclusive and responsive to the needs of diverse communities is crucial to the promotion of healthy human relationships in South Africa (McPhatter & Ganaway, 2003; NASW, 2015). Social workers can create a platform which provides an opportunity for diverse people to interact and learn about and from each other (DeLong et al., 2011). This is based on the notion that, it is through these interactions that people get to understand the meaning attached to certain aspects, share their history, customs and language. Furthermore, contact with immigrants and host communities reduces misconceptions and anxiety, promotes positive attitudes and improves trust (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008; Schmid, Al Ramiah, & Hewstone, 2014). In addition, education can be a powerful tool to eradicate social problems and deal with misconceptions that contribute to the eruption of the former. Therefore, social workers have an ethical responsibility to educate both the local community and immigrants to

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improve intercultural understanding and raise public awareness. Additionally, education helps with the facilitation of immigrants’ integration into the host community (Al-Qdah & Lacroix, 2011; Congress, 2017).

5.8  Conclusion This chapter discussed the increasing numbers of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and how this situation has resulted in heightened tensions between locals and the former in South Africa. The chapter provided an overview of the socio-political and economic scenario in post-apartheid South Africa and how this influenced and shaped the plight of immigrants. The discussion also showed how spatiality and geographic location fitted into the narrative of immigrants in South Africa. In its arguments, it noted that most immigrants gravitated towards low-income communities to begin their lives in South Africa. However, due to scarce or diminishing resources in such communities, competition between locals and immigrants is quite intense. Usually, such contestations translate into open conflict, which is exemplified by xenophobic attacks. The foregoing leads to the destruction of property, injuries and death of immigrants. Also, the outcome of this situation has resulted in unhealthy human relationships. Thus, the last part of the chapter advanced proposals related to how social work could respond to the plight of immigrants in such a way that it promoted healthy human relationships between the former population and locals. Social work interventions were cited as critical modalities for effecting healthy human relationships between South Africans and sub-Saharan immigrants.

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Cardo, M. (2014). Social inclusion and policy making in South Africa: A conceptual overview. The Journal of Helen Suzman Foundation, 73, 9–15. Cohen, A. B. (2009). Many forms of culture. American Psychologist, 64(3), 194–204. Comaroff, J. L., & Comaroff, J. (2009). Ethnicity. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press. Congress, E. (2016). Introduction: Legal and social work issues. In F. Chang-Muy & E. Congress (Eds.), Social work with immigrants and refugees: Legal issues, clinical skills, and advocacy (2nd ed., pp. 3–41). New York: Springer Publishing. Congress, E. (2017). Immigrants and refugees in cities: Issues, challenges, and interventions for social workers. Urban Social Work, 1(1), 20–35. Davis, A. Basten, A., & Frattini, C. (2006). Migration: A social determinant of the health of immigrant. Retrieved from 9914392596992.pdf DeLong, M., Geum, K., Gage, K., McKinney, E., Medvedev, K., & Park, J. (2011). Cultural exchange: Evaluating an alternative model in higher education. Journal of Studies in International Studies, 15, 41–56. Department of Home Affairs. (2015). Refugee status and asylum. Retrieved from http://www.dha. Dube, G. (2019). Black South Africans’ attitudes toward African immigrants between 2008 and 2016. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 25(2), 191–210. Edge, S., Newbold, K. B., & McKeary, M. (2014). Exploring sociocultural factors that mediate, facilitate and constrain the health and empowerment of refugee youth. Social Science and Medicine, 117, 34–41. Figley, C. R., & Figley, K. R. (2009). Stemming the tide of trauma systemically: The role of family therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 30, 173–183. Hickel, J. (2014). “Xenophobia” in South Africa: Order, chaos, and the moral economy of witchcraft. Cultural Anthropology, 29(1), 103–127. İşcan, A., Karagöz, B., & Konyar, M. (2017). Cultural transfer and creating cultural awareness in teaching Turkish as a foreign language: A sample from Gaziosmanpaşa University Tömer. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(9), 53–63. İşisağ, K.  U. (2010). The acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity in foreign language teaching. Akademik Bakış, 4(7), 251–260. Kirmayer, L.  J., Narasiah, L., Munoz, M., Rashid, M., Ryder, A.  G., Guzder, J., et  al. (2011). Common mental health problems in immigrants and refugees: General approach in primary care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 183(12), 959–967. Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Lexico-Oxford on-line dictionary. (2020). Immigrant. Retrieved from McPhatter, A.  R., & Ganaway, T.  L. (2003). Beyond the rhetoric: Strategies for implementing culturally effective practice with children, families and communities. Child Welfare, 83(2), 103–124. Montgomery, E., & Foldspang, A. (2008). Discrimination, mental problems and social adaptation in young refugees. European Journal of Public Health, 18, 156–161. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2015). Standards and indicators for cultural competence. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers. Noyoo, N. (2018). Xenophobia and social welfare in South Africa. In L.  Wagner, R.  Lutz, C.  Rehklau, & F.  Ross (Eds.), Hanbuch Internationale Soziale Arbeit: Dimensionen  – Konflikte – Positionen (pp. 145–158). Weinheim, Germany: Beltz, Juventus. Noyoo, N., & Sobantu, M. (2019). Deconstructing and decolonising spatiality: Voluntary and affordable housing for a transforming Johannesburg. In M. T. Miyambo (Ed.), Reversing urban inequality in Johannesburg (pp. 35–42). London: Routledge. Palmer, D. (2007). Caught between inequality and stigma: The impact of psychosocial factors and stigma on the mental health of Somali forced migrants in the London borough of Camden. Diversity in Health and Social Care, 4(3), 177–191. Pettigrew, T. F., & Tropp, L. R. (2008). How does contact reduce prejudice? A meta-analytic test of three mediators. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 922–934.

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Pumariega, A. J., Rothe, E., & Pumariega, J. B. (2005). Mental health of immigrants and refugees. Community Mental Health Journal, 41(5), 581–597. Rathje, S. (2009). The definition of culture: An application-oriented overhaul. Intercultural Journal, 8, 35–58. Read, D. (2003). From behaviour to culture: An assessment of cultural evolution and a new synthesis. Complexity, 8(6), 17–41. Schick, M., Morina, N., Mistridis, P., Schnyder, U., Bryant, R.  A., & Nickerson, A. (2018). Changes in post-migration living difficulties predict treatment outcome in traumatised refugees. Fontiers in Psychiatry, 9(476), 1–8. Schmid, K., Al Ramiah, A., & Hewstone, M. (2014). Neighbourhood ethnic diversity and trust: The role of intergroup contact and perceived threat. Psychological Science, 25, 665–674. Silove, D., Steel, Z., & Watters, C. (2000). Policies of deterrence and the mental health of asylum seekers. The Journal of American Medical Association, 284, 604–611. Simich, L., Hamilton, H., & Baya, B. K. (2006). Mental distress, economic hardship and expectations of life in Canada among Sudanese newcomers. Transcultural Psychiatry, 43, 418–444. Sousa, P., & de D’Almeida, J. L. (2016). Culturally sensitive social work: Promoting cultural competence. European Journal of Social Work, 19(3), 1–19. Spaaij, R. (2012). Beyond the playing field: Experiences of sport, social capital, and integration among Somalis in Australia. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(9), 1519–1538. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2017). Whither a demographic dividend South Africa: The Overton window of political possibilities. Pretoria, South Africa: StatsSA. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2018). Mid-year population estimates, 2018. Pretoria, South Africa: StatsSA. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2019a). SA population reaches 58,8 million. Retrieved from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2019b). Quarterly labour force survey. Pretoria, South Africa: StatsSA. Tolsma, J., & van der Meer, T.  W. G. (2017). Losing wallets, retaining trust? The relationship between ethnic heterogeneity and trusting co-ethnic and non-co-ethnic neighbours and non-­ neighbours to return a lost wallet. Social Indicators Research, 131(2), 631–658. Walsh, F. (2007). Traumatic loss and major disasters: Strengthening family and community resilience. Family Process, 46, 207–227. Widfeldt, A. (2003). Contemporary right-wing extremism. In R. Axtmann (Ed.), Understanding democratic politics: An introduction (pp. 280–290). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Zagelbaum, A., & Carlson, J. (2011). Orientation to working with immigrant families. In A.  Zagelbaum & J.  Carlson (Eds.), Working with immigrant families. A practical guide for counsellors (pp. 1–20). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

Part III

Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities and Vulnerability

Chapter 6

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Children in Post-Apartheid South Africa Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk and Eric Atmore

6.1  Introduction Healthy development in young children is dependent on the quality and consistency of relationships with significant people in their lives. The quality of a child’s human relationships in his/her early years profoundly shapes a range of significant developmental outcomes and social-emotional competencies later in life. A child’s capacity to develop and preserve relationships over time is fundamental to positive mental health and well-being, as well as to how they function in society. Children make up just over one quarter of the world’s population; yet, their position in society is tenuous at best. However, we have come a long way from the time when child survival was the priority for parents. Today, children are more likely than ever before to survive the first 5 years of life, although globally some 5.3 million children still died before their fifth birthday in 2018 according to the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2019, p. 1). There is also today a significant increase in the awareness of children in society and about child rights. Trond Waage, a former Norwegian Children’s Ombudsman, writes eloquently about the evolution in thinking about a child’s place in society: In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we had a refined version of childhood. We needed to get their small fingers away from industry, because we recognised their intelligence. So, we placed them in education, and childhood developed as a kind of independent category. In the eighteenth century, we recognised the child’s soul, this fantastic noble thing inside every child which could be developed in a positive way, and children were seen as a part of the development of society, the hope for the future, the futuremakers. Today, close to 200 countries across the globe have signed the Convention on the

L.-J. van Niekerk (*) · E. Atmore Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



L.-J. van Niekerk and E. Atmore Rights of the Child. We have laws for the development, protection and safety of children. Children are no longer expected to work (except in a few countries), they now attend school. States are now concerned with the protection and development of children and a significant number of children globally have access to primary school education. However, at the same time children are still not valued as human beings and often do not have the opportunity to participate in social and community life, and are frequently referred to as ‘the future’ as if they are not presently human, capable of doing things and being socially valued. (Waage, 2005, pp. 9–10)

At present, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our children live in a rapidly changing world – a world that earlier generations, often do not understand. The world is changing so fast, that it can be bewildering for young and old alike. Child rearing and family life cannot simply follow the ways of the past. The structure of society and of the family is rapidly changing. In South Africa, for example, only 33.8% of children live with both biological parents (Shung-King, Lake, Sanders, & Hendricks, 2019, p. 217). A necessary consequence of this is the need for children to experience healthy human relationships with other children, family members and other adults as they grow and develop as active children, teenagers and into early adulthood. Today, early in the twenty-first century, most countries have moved from the strong authority of the parents (mainly the father) to a more ‘democratic approach’ of family. Waage (2005) observes that children expect participation and equality not only at home, not only among their peers, but also in the education system. They have a say. They have experience. They have the competence and they want to use that competence, and the first thing you have to do is to listen to them. Negotiation is something positive and involves participation. Waage (2005) further points out that children today are more involved in organised activities. In communities and at school they meet a diverse range of people. Because of this, children now have to learn how to function in a constantly changing environment. It can be seen that in present times, children are increasingly and enthusiastically embracing social media. Children today have unprecedented access to information, both positive and negative. With internet and social media access, Waage (2005) is of the view that what they learn gives them a hitherto unknown world view on everything. Therefore, the child in the twenty-first century is the beneficiary of the child rights movement of the second half of the twentieth century. Children today know more about their rights and the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a document which presents a holistic view on childhood and is very proactive in its form. It is not only a legislative approach, but it is also, as many researchers say today, a ‘redefining of childhood’, which is very important (Waage, 2005). Given this modern context of childhood in society, it is important that we consider healthy human relationships for children, especially in the light of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past and the rapidly changing environment in which they grow up today. The next section examines the phenomenon of childhood in the apartheid era.

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6.2  Childhood in South Africa Under Apartheid Given how the idea of childhood is seen in society today, it is appropriate to look back and briefly examine it in South Africa under apartheid. Apartheid had a devastating effect on the lives and relationships of communities, families and children, especially for those who were classified as ‘non-white’ by the apartheid government, under the Population Registration Act, No. 30 of 1950. The impact and effect of this legislation on children, their families and communities included: • • • • • • • • • •

Being forced out of ‘white areas’ into overcrowded racial slums and ghettos Lack of privacy and space for recreation Not knowing the security of family life Being socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively deprived Suffering from illness Poor nutrition, being hungry and a lack of health care facilities including tens of thousands of black children dying annually from diseases related to not having sufficient food Tramping on individual dignity Children linking up with gangs, becoming involved with violence, substance abuse and antisocial behaviour at a young age Being exploited for their cheap labour Being denied access to schooling

Taking into consideration this context of children and their environment during apartheid, it is imperative that children today experience responsive, consistent and quality human relationships to ground them and to help them navigate the dynamic and oftentimes challenging society that we live in. After locating the question of childhood in a historical context, it is necessary to highlight the importance of healthy human relationships to children’s well-being.

6.3  T  he Importance of Healthy Human Relationships for Children Lavis (2016) is of the view that as social beings, adults and children have the desire and capacity to form and maintain relationships and that this is essential for how human beings function within society. It has the benefit of enhancing mental health and well-being. Having worked with children for decades, the authors are of the view that this is especially true for children from the very early years through the teenage years. Lavis (2016) asserts that the first 2 years of a baby’s life are crucial to their development and future mental health and well-being. The brain is developing and it is at its most adaptable during these early years of life. So how we interact with the child can be critical for their healthy development. From the foregoing, it


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is clear that the relationships that children form as they grow and develop are critical for their healthy development. Furthermore, three areas need to be borne in mind when examining healthy relationships for children (Lavis, 2016). First, the quality of relationships is important. Children build relationships with an array of people, not just their immediate family and friends. Parents and carers, neighbours, friends, school friends and others will all have a relationship with children, but it is the quality of the relationship that is important. A consistent and sensitive relationship is needed to ensure that children form a secure attachment with these individuals (Lavis, 2016). Second, building healthy relationships is essential for the healthy development of children and must be cultivated from conception onwards. This enables children to be secure, able to manage their emotions and behaviour and to relate to others. As children grow and develop, some relationships are sustained, some fall away and new relationships are formed. Third, children can have very positive relationships with nature and animals. Such relationships can be extremely beneficial to the children’s social, emotional, physical and mental health and can help to reduce stress. It is important to note that some children will have a problem forming human relationships. Even with the best of intentions and effort, not all children will be able to form strong relationships with peers and with adults. This may include children with a learning disability, autism spectrum disorders and so on. Whilst they have particular needs, it does not mean that they cannot form relationships. Parents, caregivers and teachers need to strongly support such children to help them build relationships. This is especially important for a child’s mental health (Lavis, 2016).

6.4  Responsive, Nurturing Care for Healthy Development Responsive, nurturing relationships are critical in ensuring that children flourish and reach their full potential. The interactions between a child and his or her primary caregiver profoundly influence the child’s developmental outcomes, such as psychological adjustment, cognitive development, social-emotional competencies and language acquisition (Richter, 2004). Shonkoff and Phillips (2000) infer that when young children do not have at least one primary caregiver who is easily accessible, readily available and who is emotionally invested, they often exhibit a range of developmental deficits that persist over time. A child’s developmental outcomes and social-emotional competencies are deeply shaped by the quality of his or her human relationships in their early years. The emotional attachment between an infant and primary caregiver in the first 1000 days is essential for their immediate survival, and establishes the course for continued, healthy and holistic development (Berry & Malek, 2016). Neuroscientists have revealed that responsive care and nurturing is a keystone of healthy brain development. When children experience severe adversity in their early years, it significantly undermines their development by negatively impacting their

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brain structure, which greatly affects their ability to achieve their full potential later on in life (Berry & Malek, 2016). Compelling research has shown that hostile social conditions biologically weave themselves into a child’s brain resulting in life-long, largely irreversible consequences affecting their health and well-being later in life (Morgan, 2015). Children grow and develop within concentric circles of care and support. At the very heart of the circles of support is the parent/primary caregiver and the child (Cohen, 2015). It is the child’s first relationship and thus, it is pivotal in guiding and shaping their healthy development. It is within this dyad that children experience their first deep connection to someone, and that they receive love, nurturance, protection and stimulation (Cohen, 2015). Furthermore, it is during this time that infants form attachments which establish the foundation for later relationships and assist in their self-regulation of emotions and behaviours (Gould & Ward, 2015). When children have warm, responsive, consistent relationships with their caregivers, they form secure attachments which cultivate within them the capacity to trust others as well as provide them with a sense of security that is fundamental to positive development (Gould & Ward, 2015). This secure attachment also provides a foundation upon which children are able to identify their emotions and of other people. This identification of emotions is essential for emotional regulation and control (Gould & Ward, 2015). Parenting style is central to children learning to regulate emotion. By intentionally helping children to identify their emotions, parents/caregivers teach them to become aware of how they are feeling inside, which is the starting point towards regulating their emotions (Gould & Ward, 2015). Parents/ caregivers who institute consistent routine and who use non-violent, positive discipline, assist their children to control their own behaviour (Gould & Ward, 2015). In light of this, it is important to recognise that positive parenting/caregiving takes time, effort and purpose and is more difficult for parents/caregivers who may themselves face social, emotional or physical adversity (Gould & Ward, 2015). As children grow and develop, their network of connections and support expands as they engage in external environments including schools; social, youth and faith-­ based organisations; community services; and so forth. In addition to their family relationships that have been formed, children start to develop meaningful relationships with others in the external environment, some of which include teachers, friends and community members (Berry & Malek, 2016). This constitutes the next concentric circle of support. These relationships do not take the place of the deep connections developed within the family, but rather become an important part in assisting children to build a range of healthy human relationships. These environments create opportunities for children to build significant relationships which enhance their sense of belonging and social connection, which has long-lasting impact on their development (Berry & Malek, 2016). Children who developed secure attachments as infants are better equipped to establish healthy peer relationships which are imperative for learning appropriate social skills as well as intellectual development. Interestingly, good social skills in children are positively correlated with better performance at school (Gould & Ward, 2015).


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Surrounding this core is the child’s social environment which is an influential factor in shaping child development. Primary caregivers play a crucial role in interceding between the child and the influence of the social environment, thus safeguarding the child against environmental stressors (Berry & Malek, 2016). For young children to develop a sense of emotional security, belonging and trust, they require a stable environment with responsive care in which caregivers are sensitive to their needs, provide opportunities for stimulation and development and protect them from harm (Berry & Malek, 2016). Within the present South African context, there are several negative factors that compromise the establishment and maintenance of healthy relationships that are specifically felt by vulnerable families who live in poverty-stricken communities with a high prevalence of unemployment, substance abuse, violence, chronic illness and who have limited access to social services (Berry & Malek, 2016).

6.5  Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship with Children It is important to understand what a healthy relationship with children is. For Bonior (2018), healthy relationships with children include behaviours that relate to the development of relationships that are built on trust. Without trust, there is the lack of a solid foundation on which to build social and emotional skills. Without trust, children are unsure if they can rely on their family, peers and community to support and guide them when needed. Without trust, relationships are vulnerable to stress and toxicity. Communicating openly, honestly and respectfully with children, especially on matters that may be difficult to discuss, is a critical characteristic of a healthy relationship and is discussed in more depth in a section that follows. Furthermore, being empathetic, hearing and understanding the child’s perspective helps in building healthy human relationships with children. Adults need to understand the child’s perspective, even when the adult may disagree with it. Empathy is crucial in building a healthy relationship with children. Being affectionate is an important part of a healthy relationship with children. Affection will support the child to feel confident and secure in a relationship. This means being truly interested in the children that we interact and engage with. Appreciating the relationships that adults form with children is important, and enhances trust and improves the relationship and children’s well-being. Expressions of gratitude and appreciation enhance a relationship with a child. In addition, being respectful is important in all human relationships and especially in relationships with children. It is important that adults do not belittle a child and it is important that adults value children’s time and views. When there is little respect for children, adult–child relationships are difficult to initiate. Lastly, healthy adult relationships with children must be open, transparent, genuine and honest.

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6.6  T  he Value of Good Communication in Building Healthy Relationships with Children Communication is critical in developing, building and maintaining healthy human relationships and can contribute to problem solving, conflict resolution and developing trust in a relationship. For children, poor communication can result in uncertainty, confusion and misunderstanding and may prevent children from understanding a message or understanding it the way it is intended. LifeCare Inc. (2011) lists common barriers to communication which include: • Poor listening skills where adults speak to and at children rather than listening • Language wherein adults use ‘big words’ when communicating with children and especially words not yet in the child’s vocabulary • Poor emotional control in which an adult who is angry with a child may not effectively communicate feelings and ideas. Adults can enhance communication with children by following a few listening and speaking guidelines. It is important that adults listen to children, focusing on the message that the child is wishing to relay to the adult and giving the child full attention. Adults should not interrupt children when they speak and should allow children to speak without interjection until they are finished saying what they wish to say. When speaking with a child the adult should also keep good and respectful eye contact. Making encouraging responses and gestures whilst the child is speaking is also important. Adult responses must encourage the child to speak rather than inhibiting him/her. It is fine for the adult to politely ask questions of the child, especially questions of clarity such as: ‘Please explain what you mean’. It is also appropriate for the adult to accurately paraphrase what the child has said. This will indicate that the adult is paying attention to what the child is saying. Adults must at all times avoid responding negatively by criticising, ridiculing, dismissing or rejecting the child for what is being said. When speaking with children the intention must always be for the child to understand the message relayed. When speaking, adults must ensure that they have the child’s full attention. The aim in speaking with a child is that the child will understand what is being said. As such, adults must avoid jargon and complex language. The language spoken by the adult must be age-appropriate for the child and must also be emotionally appropriate for the child.

6.7  C  hallenges and Barriers to Healthy Human Relationships for Children A range of factors contribute towards the quality of relationships and interactions between children and their primary caregivers. Caregivers may be present in the lives of their children, may live in same households and may see their children on a


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daily basis; however, what is of consequence is that they are emotionally available and that they intentionally engage with their children by showing interest and providing them with purposeful attention (Berry & Malek, 2016). The way in which caregivers respond to children and their capacity to provide nurturing, responsive care is influenced by several factors which, according to Belsky (1984), can be clustered into three main areas referred to as determinants of quality parenting. The first determinant is that of contextual sources of stress and support within the social environment, such as level of support in the parental role, marital relationship and resource availability (Belsky, 1984). The second determinant is that of child characteristics, which includes the temperament of the child, and the third determinant is that of caregiver characteristics, focusing on the personality and psychological circumstances of the caregiver (Belsky, 1984). When referring to the sources of stress and support within the South African context, the socio-economic conditions, in which the majority of caregivers in South Africa live, are the major source of stress, tension and anxiety. Research has shown that poverty and inequality, which are often beyond the control of caregivers, have a negative effect on the development and adjustment of children and may disturb and put stress on the caregiver–child relationship (Richter, 2004). Poverty is pervasive in that it infiltrates all areas of life, including the home and work environment, family relationships and child–caregiver interactions, thus exhausting one’s capacity to navigate and manage life (Richter, 2004). In South Africa, poverty is intersected with unemployment, chronic illness and depression. South African researchers have put forward that poverty and inequality increase the likelihood of being depressed, with alarming rates (up to 47%) of antenatal depression (Schneider et al., 2016, p. 154). This often extends into the post-partum period, with up to 35% of new mothers experiencing depression (Schneider et al. 2016, p. 154), which may affect their bonding and attachment to their infants. A key issue that needs to be highlighted, as regards the plight of children in South Africa is violence. Violence in South Africa is widespread. It impacts on caregivers’ physical and mental health, which in turn affects the way in which they care for their children. It is common for violence to exist within the home as is evident in the soaring levels of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. Adolescents also experience some form of maltreatment, and 35% reported experiencing some form of sexual abuse (Burton, Ward, Artz, & Leoschut, 2016, pp. 43; 57). This exposure to violence within the home may result in caregivers who do not have the capacity to be emotionally invested and responsive to their children and impedes the emotional security of the child (Berry & Malek, 2016). Other sources of stress which may affect the capacity of caregivers to provide responsive, sensitive care include physical and mental health, chronic illness such as HIV/AIDS, challenging work conditions, unemployment and alcohol and drug abuse (Berry & Malek, 2016). Living in such conditions, with persistent sources of stress, makes it challenging for caregivers to always be sensitively attuned to the needs of their children, and to be responsive and nurturing in all their interactions (Richter, 2004).

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In addition to the social environment, several child characteristics exist that negatively affect caregiver–child relationships including premature birth, children with special needs and those with difficult temperaments. Researchers have put forward that children who act out and display poor behaviour often cause conflict and distress between the child and parents, as well as between the parents themselves (Flouri, 2010). Interestingly, the opposite has also been found, in that children with challenging temperaments can draw more attention to themselves which results in higher levels of responsive care and engagement, and thus can be advantageous to children in some situations (Pleck, 1997; Volling & Belsky, 1991). Of course, parents’ characteristics influence caregiver–child relationships, some of which include age, mental health, marital/parent relationship and an understanding that their interactions with their children positively affect child development (Richter, 2004). Caregivers who experience a lack of resources and support often experience more difficulty in daily functioning which has an impact on their levels of engagement with their family and in particular, their children (Roggman, Boyce, Cook, & Cook, 2002). Interestingly, attachment to primary caregivers during infancy and in the early years is a determinant for a child’s social–emotional aptitude, competence in peer relationships and behavioural patterns (Richter, 2004). Longitudinal research indicates that children who experienced secure attachments in infancy and their very early years were more confident, socially apt and well liked by their peers (Bohlin, Hagekull, & Rydell, 2000 in Richter, 2004). Research shows that attachment status has an impact on peer relations in pre-school and school environments. This is significant as studies show that poor peer relations are related to behavioural issues such as aggression, disorderliness and delinquency, particularly amongst boys (Richter, 2004).

6.8  The Impact of Poor Relationships on Children As we have set out, children’s relationships with their parents, siblings and wider family, peers and other adults are important. Healthy human relationships have a positive impact on our children’s mental health and well-being. Poor and toxic relationships can have a very negative impact on children. Poor human relationships can be a reason for negative behaviours such as bullying, tantrums, isolation, destruction of property, disruption and chronic illness. When children are stressed, they need healthy relationships with their peers, family and within their community. It is at this time when they need strong and secure relationships that families and good friends can provide (Lavis, 2016). The former author ends her explanation of why relationships are important for children and young people, and notes that if children are able to form and maintain healthy relationships, then this will assist them with their social, emotional, physical and cognitive development and this in turn will be important for their families, friends and community (Lavis, 2016).


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6.9  Improving the Quality of Caregiver–Child Relationships Findings from a study on parenting and child-outcomes in Africa indicated that good quality caregiver–child relationships were positively associated with biological parents, parental/caregiver mental health and residing in a house with more than one adult (Sherr et al., 2017). Parents are fundamental to creating environments for children that are empowering and nurturing, and where they are able to reach their full potential. While this may sound self-evident, it is important to recognise that parenting/caregiving does not happen in isolation, but rather intersects with a range of social, environmental and personal challenges which have been discussed earlier. Caregivers require support for them to feel empowered in their role as a parent and to assist in the establishment of meaningful, secure attachments with their children. It is clear that support systems for caregivers are invaluable in providing hands-on, day-to-day assistance and emotional support during difficult and stressful times (Berry & Malek, 2016). Social support, whether from family and friends or from a community group, as well as access to a variety of support services, such as child-­ care and parental leave, play a protective role by guarding against the effects of stress and thus augmenting the development of the relationship with their child (Tomlinson, 2013). In addition to caregivers and families creating these conditions, government should play a key role in ensuring that effective policies, programmes and resources are in place and are implementable, so as to enhance the well-being of children (Berry & Malek, 2016). On a macro scale, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 work towards eliminating the devastating economic insecurity that the majority of South Africans face. Quality caregiver–child relationships that are responsive, sensitive and nurturing, particularly in the early years, are essential not only to the well-being and development of children but also to achieving a secure and industrious society in line with the National Development Plan (Ward & Wessels, 2013). The overarching goal of the NDP is to reduce poverty and inequality within South Africa through increasing levels of employment, per capita income, enhanced quality of education and ensuring that citizens live in safe environments (Gould & Ward, 2015). Within these elements, education, employment and income are interconnected in that young people who are educated are more likely to be employed, and thus earn an income. As discussed, parenting and the caregiver–child relationship underpin this when the outcomes are secure attachment, intellectual stimulation and effective communication (Gould & Ward, 2015). However, to foster positive parenting, improve child outcomes and realise the intentions of this policy, it is imperative that quality interventions are put in place and that caregivers are supported sufficiently in the implementation of these initiatives. The Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005 (Chap. 8) makes provision for prevention and early intervention programmes that aim to enhance parenting skills with the intention that children’s rights to care and protection will be met. Importantly, Chap. 8 also puts responsibility on government to deliver and provide funding for these

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programmes (Ward & Wessels, 2013). It is vital that these programmes are developed in response not only to the developmental needs of the child but also to the needs of the parents/caregivers (Ward & Wessels, 2013). It is essential that parents/ caregivers have an understanding of child development and the significance of nurturing, responsive care to foster secure attachment (Ward & Wessels, 2013). There is a variety of programmes that have been implemented and evaluated in our country which work towards empowering parents and improving their parenting skills. Due to South Africa being such a diverse country with multifaceted and fluctuating child-care arrangements and with differing family structures, the modes of delivery of parenting programmes range from home-visiting programmes, to health facilities, to networks of care. One such programme that enhances parenting and attachment is home visiting (Ward & Wessels, 2013). These programmes have been shown to solidify the bond between the parent/ caregiver and the child and improve skills for positive parenting, which in turn have been successful in reducing the risk of child neglect and abuse, as well as child behaviour problems later in life (Lachman et  al., 2015; Ward & Wessels, 2013). Large portions of the population experience limited access to programmes and support services as the distances to travel are far, the cost of travel is high and often there is a lack of transport available to them. This form of programme is thus extremely effective in that it is able to reach people living within the most marginalised communities, thus ensuring that access to services is more equitable (Berry & Malek, 2016). An essential component of home-visiting programmes is regular support which allows for consistent monitoring and continuity of services (Berry & Malek, 2016). Parenting programmes are often structured according to age of the child as the developmental stages are distinct, and thus target specific groups of parents/caregivers, such as those of infants, toddlers, young children or adolescents (Berry & Malek, 2016). The content of the various programmes also differs in accordance with the needs of the children and parents/caregivers, and can include engaging in age-appropriate activities that promote the caregiver–child relationship, psycho-emotional support to parents, especially those with babies or children with special needs and parents with teens often engaging in group discussions on parenting and family issues (Berry & Malek, 2016). Another critical area that has been recognised as an intervention point is that of the first 1000  days (from conception to 2  years old). Promoting the well-being of pregnant women and new mothers, and their relationship with their babies, has been shown to be effective in creating an environment for infants and young children to flourish (Berry & Malek, 2016). The Western Cape government has implemented The First 1000 Days Initiative that acknowledges the importance of the mother’s health and wellness in pregnancy and recognises the value of the mother’s supportive relationships including with the father of the baby, family and friends. In this programme, community health workers provide psycho-­ social support to pregnant women who have been assessed as mildly or moderately at risk and also link them to social support services, such as the child support grant (Malek, 2016). In addition to this, mothers are encouraged to involve the father of the baby or a support partner with the antenatal visits at the clinic, as well as find a


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birth partner to support them during the birth process (Malek, 2016). Mothers are further supported with the provision of infant feeding information, and in some cases, antenatal support groups (Malek, 2016). On a broader scale is that of community network programmes that support parents/caregivers, children and families in generating awareness of the importance of child and youth wellness and negotiating with community leaders to create safer spaces for children and youth and improving services for child health and safety (Berry & Malek, 2016). One such example is Circles of Support Programmes implemented by Isibindi in which children, youth and families are supported through home visits, and the promotion of child-care and stimulation by means of the Safe Parks Programme (Berry & Malek, 2016). This programme is particularly effective in how responsive, it is to the needs of children and families, the reliable presence of child and youth care workers in the communities as well as the important referral role that it plays for vulnerable children and youth (Berry & Malek, 2016).

6.10  P  romoting Healthy Human Relationships in Diverse Cultures and Communities South Africa is a diverse country supported by a progressive and acclaimed Constitution. Diversity is all around us and presents in many forms. Developing healthy human relationships, with a diverse range of people is an exciting opportunity. In our relationships we need to value people from different backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, cultures, view points, communities and groups. As we participate and interact in the wider community, we inevitably share activities with children and families. It is important that from a young age, children are made aware of similar and different cultural experiences that are practised and celebrated. It is also important that children are aware of difference and diversity in their lives. Children learn from adults: parents, caregivers and teachers, so adult attitudes and behaviours matter. When children hear about different cultures and practices, and when they see acceptance of these, it helps them to understand and to make sense of the world. As adults we need to show and teach children that the people they come into contact with will differ in some characteristics, but that our similarities far outweigh our differences. Engaging with people whose cultural values are different from ours requires thoughtfulness. This includes, but is not limited to, language, physical characteristics, ethnicity and religious views. Durand (2016) suggests that as adults we can teach children to value and appreciate the diversity of a country by: • • • • •

Being respectful Being supportive Encouraging healthy and positive relationships Finding ways to communicate when there are language differences Not stereotyping and discriminating

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• Having conversations about stereotypes and actively combatting all forms of prejudice, racism and xenophobia amongst others • Choosing activities that celebrate diversity • Most important for adults is setting a good example for children For children, ways to understand and value diversity include the following: • • • • • •

Being open to learning about the values, beliefs, history and stories of others Celebrating cultural days Organising multicultural and inclusive activities that children share in together Incorporating children’s language and culture into everyday practices Respecting difference and thinking positively about difference and Singing and telling stories together.

6.11  Conclusion This chapter explored healthy human relationships for young children in post-­ apartheid South Africa, with a focus on the importance of healthy relationships and what these should look like. It also discussed a range of factors that enhance the quality of relationships and interactions between children and their primary caregivers, and set out practical solutions within a social development context to promote healthy caregiver–child relationships in our country. From what has been presented in this chapter, it is clear that healthy, holistic development in children is reliant on quality, consistent relationships with people who play a prominent role in their lives. The human relationships that children experience have a profound impact on a range of significant developmental outcomes and social-emotional competencies later in life. Importantly, for children and caregivers living in post-apartheid South Africa, there are a number of environmental factors that harm the formation and sustenance of these relationships. This chapter specifically highlights poverty, inequality, unemployment, chronic illness and depression as well as domestic violence and the intersections of these which may affect the capacity of caregivers to provide responsive, sensitive care and foster healthy human relationships with their children. Looking ahead, if we want our children to flourish and be productive citizens, it is essential that child–caregiver relationships are prioritised and improved in South Africa. Caregivers need to be supported in their roles and effective policies, programmes and resources are required to be put in place and implemented to enhance the well-being of our children.

References Belsky, J. (1984). The determinants of parenting: A process model. Child Development, 55, 83–96. Berry, L., & Malek, E. (2016). Caring for children: Relationships matter. In L. Jamieson, L. Berry, & L.  Lake (Eds.), South African child gauge 2016 (pp.  51–60). Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, UCT.


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Bonior, A. (2018). What does a healthy relationship look like? Retrieved from Burton, P., Ward, C. L., Artz, L., & Leoschut, L. (2016). The optimus study on child abuse, violence and neglect in South Africa. Research report. Cape Town, South Africa: Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention & University of Cape Town (UCT). Cohen, L. (2015). Editor’s letter: insights – parenting: lessons for ECD from parenting interventions in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Ilifa Labantwana. Durand, S. (2016). Sharing diverse cultures in early learning settings. Retrieved from http://www. Flouri, E. (2010). Fathers’ behaviours and children’s psychopathology. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(3), 363–369. Gould, C., & Ward, C. (2015). Positive parenting in South Africa: Why supporting families is key to development and violence prevention. (Policy brief 77). Retrieved from https://issafrica. Lachman, J. M., Ward, C. L., Wessels, I. M., Cluver, L. D., Gardner, F., & Hutchings, J. (2015). Learning lessons about positive parenting from a parent skills training programme. Cape Town, South Africa: Ilifa Labantwana. Lavis, P. (2016). Why relationships are so important for children and young people. Retrieved from why-relationships-are-so-important-chidlren-and-young-people LifeCare Inc. (2011). Communication skills for healthy relationships. Retrieved from https://www. Malek, E. (2016). Care in pregnancy: The first 1,000 days initiative. In L. Jamieson, L. Berry, & L. Lake (Eds.), South African child gauge 2016 (p. 56). Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. Morgan, B. (2015). Too great expectations? Moving beyond the core story of brain development. Cape Town, South Africa: Ilifa Labantwana. Pleck, J.  H. (1997). Paternal involvement: Levels, sources, and consequences. In M.  E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development (pp. 66–103). New York: Wiley. Richter, L. (2004). The importance of care-giver-child interactions for the survival and healthy development of young children: A review. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation (WHO). Roggman, L. A., Boyce, L. K., Cook, G. A., & Cook, J. (2002). Getting dads involved: Predictors of father involvement in Early Head Start and with their children. Infant Mental Health Journal, 23(1/2), 62–78. Schneider, M., Docrat, S., Onah, M., Tomlinson, M., Baron, E., & Honikman, S., et al. (2016). Integrating mental health into South Africa’s health system: Current status and way forward. Durban, South Africa: Health Systems Trust. Sherr, L., Macedo, A., Cluver, C., Meinck, F., Skeen, S., Hensels, I. S., et al. (2017). Parenting, the other oldest profession in the world: A cross-sectional study of parenting and child outcomes in South Africa and Malawi. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 5(1), 145–165. Shonkoff, J., & Phillips, D. (2000). From neurons to neighbourhoods: The science of early childhood development. New York: National Academy Press. Shung-King, M., Lake, L., Sanders, D., & Hendricks, M. (Eds.). (2019). South African child gauge 2019. Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. Tomlinson, M. (2013). Caring for the care-giver: A framework for support. In L. Berry, L. Biersteker, A.  Dawes, L.  Lake, & C.  Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2013 (pp.  56–61). Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. Volling, B. L., & Belsky, J. (1991). Multiple determinants of father involvement during infancy in dual-earner and single-earner families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(2), 461–474. Waage, T. (2005). Modern childhood: The image of the child in our society. The Seventh Kilbrandon Lecture, Glasgow, 1 Nov 2005.

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Ward, C., & Wessels, I. (2013). Rising to the challenge: Towards effective parenting programmes. In L. Berry, L. Biersteker, H. Dawes, L. Lake, & C. Smith (Eds.), South African child gauge 2013. Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. World Health Organisation (WHO) (2019) Children: reducing mortality. Retrieved from http://

Chapter 7

Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Older Persons: A Social Development Perspective Mziwandile Sobantu

7.1  Introduction Based on the South African context, this chapter highlights the need to promote healthy, neighbourly and nurturing human relationships that are more likely to yield social development outcomes for older persons. According to the South African Older Persons’ Act (13 of 2006), any person aged 60 years and above is categorised as an older person. Older persons are senior citizens who are vulnerable in many ways (Patel, 2005, pp. 156–157); hence they need caring and healthy family, and community environments. Because of their advanced age, many of them are frail and hence no longer able to undertake their daily living activities. While older persons contribute substantially to the social and economic development of any society, there has been a lack of policy focus to ensure that communities treat senior citizens with Ubuntu in South Africa, i.e. with dignity, honour and respect (Baloyi, 2015; Beales, 2000; Mtshali, 2015, 2016; South African Human Rights Commission [SAHRC], 2016). The promotion of practices and programmes that engender the rights of vulnerable populations is the main thrust of the post-apartheid developmental approach to social welfare (Noyoo, 2017; Patel, 2015). Currently, the country boasts the highest number of older persons in Africa (Kelly, Mrengwa, & Geffen, 2019), with over 4.2 million of its population aged 60 years and above according to Statistics South Africa (StatsSA, 2019). This chapter is written against the backdrop ‘of the plight of the elderly people who are raped, robbed and abused in South Africa, particularly amongst black Africans’ (Baloyi, 2015, p. 1). Maltreatment of senior citizens is not confined to South Africa only, but it is rather a worldwide phenomenon which is symptomatic

M. Sobantu (*) Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg (UJ), Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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of family and community disorders which erode the values of care and support towards older persons. In their study on elderly abuse in the United Kingdom, Burns, Hyde and Killet (2013) in Mysyuk and Westendorp (2015, p. 1) found out that the abuse of older persons pertained ‘to structural arrangements instead of to individual behaviour or excesses’. This finding is supported by Baloyi (2015) and Beales (2000) who attribute elderly abuse in South Africa to a community misunderstanding of ageing and older persons, leading to ageism because of negative attitudes against senior citizens. These attitudes are exacerbated by poverty, which poses strain on families and communities to care for older persons. It is therefore not surprising that cases of neglect, rape and all kinds of abuse of older persons in South Africa are increasing (Baloyi, 2015; Beales, 2000; Kotzé, 2018). Lack of compassionate and benevolent human relationships towards older persons has even escalated and resulted in forced grand-parenting, misuse of their pension grants and in worst cases, murder due to suspicions of witchcraft (Baloyi, 2015; Makiwane, 2011; Meel, 2009; SAHRC, 2016). As suggested by Noyoo (2018), serious social re-engineering efforts are required in order to resuscitate mutual, reciprocal, caring and nurturing human relationships that are in line with the African philosophy of Ubuntu. Gerontology and a policy focus on older persons are moving slowly in South Africa and Africa. The rapid rate at which the population of older persons is growing cannot be ignored anymore according to Help Age International (HAI, 2002) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA, 2015). Currently, South Africa has over four million older persons and this figure is expected to increase to ten million by 2050 (StatsSA, 2019; World health Organisation [WHO], 2018). Globally, the older persons’ population is 12 per cent of the total world population and by 2050, the number is anticipated to double to two billion (WHO, 2018). These are unprecedented demographic changes that South Africa did not foresee (Baloyi, 2015; Makiwane, 2011). As a result, elderly population growth, human and material resources, including societal relationships are outstretched in their struggle to provide support to the elderly people. Some have argued that instead of being viewed as a positive force in communities, older persons are instead regarded as ‘bothersome and people waiting to die’ because of this strain (Makiwane, 2011; Mysyuk & Westerndorp, 2015; Okoye, Ebimgbo & Eneh, 2017). That is where the social development theoretical perspective becomes central in bringing to the fore a human perspective and emphasising holistic, rights-­ based and collaborative interventions, so as to create and promote healthy and supportive human relationships among senior citizens and the society at large. The next section presents the theoretical underpinnings of this chapter.

7.2  Theoretical Background This chapter is informed by the social development perspective which is a theory that emphasises conjoining the social and the economic streams of development to effectively tackle poverty and improve the living circumstances of the poor (Gray,

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2006; Noyoo, 2017). This approach pays close attention to satisfying the needs of vulnerable people who include older persons. Explicit in this approach is the desire to build healthy human relationships that prioritise vulnerabilities and the prosperity of individuals through others in the community. This is the essence of Ubuntu, whereby a person’s humanity is expressed through other people. Patel (2005, p. 98) posits that social development is ‘rooted in a rights-based approach. Its goals include achieving social justice, a minimum standard of living, equitable access and opportunity to services and benefits... with a special emphasis on the needs of the most disadvantaged in the society’. Midgley (1995, p. 250) adds that social development gives a special focus on promoting and protecting the rights of the neglected. The respect for human rights and the rights of older persons is a function of healthy human relationships in the society. Other than rights-based approaches and linking the economic and social aspects of development, Patel, (2005, pp. 205–206) also emphasises democracy and participation, partnerships and bridging the divide between micro and macro divides as key additional pillars of social development. Social development as an approach is germane to South Africa and is inseparable from the discourse of human rights. This is because of the country’s history of racial and economic exclusion of largely black Africans by colonial and apartheid governments. In 1994, the African National Congress (ANC)-led government inherited a socially fragmented society, with violence used as the medium of communicating discontent over lack of services and the right to franchise. Violence affects mostly women (both young and old) who are negatively impacted by this social ill in many ways. Thus, in 1994, the government enacted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), which is a macro-economic policy, with an exceptional emphasis on driving people-driven processes, inclusive and rights-based programmes in order to end social and economic fragmentation and deprivation respectively according to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) (1994). Through the same RDP policy, government committed itself to ensuring peace and security for all, irrespective of age, gender, race and sexual orientation. The 1997 White Paper for Social Welfare further provided a road map for social development in South Africa (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997). Based on the unique challenges that bedevilled the country and informed by the blueprint for social development articulated in the White Paper, developmental social welfare was then conceptualised as the new social welfare policy for the country (Noyoo, 2017). Apparent in this approach is an urgent need to provide integrated, comprehensive and holistic needs to the vulnerable populations such as older persons. These include family, community-based and institutional social care programmes for older persons. At the same time, the White Paper, like the RDP policy, also stresses redistribution in order to realise social justice. Redistribution is important because many older persons and their families are still ‘locked into the lower segments of the society through inferior education and menial jobs’ (Noyoo, 2017, p. 7). With only their old age pension grants, many older persons in South Africa are in pyscho-emotional distress because they are poor, with no meaningful safety-nets to support them. The 1996 South African Constitution with its Bill of Rights plays a critical role in the evolution of social development and safeguarding the socio-economic rights


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of older persons in the country. The Bill of Rights articulates the rights to equality, human dignity, privacy, freedom of religion, belief and opinion, among others (RSA, 1996). The right to housing for all citizens is enshrined in Section 26, while that to health care, food, water and social security is expressed in Section 27 of the Constitution. Older persons have the right to age in dignity, with access to social and economic services. Thus, the 2006 Older Persons Act serves to protect the rights of older persons so that they age with respect and honour (RSA, 2006). Through this Act, government funds non-profit organisations (NPOs) to render community-based care services to senior citizens. At the same time, qualifying older persons have an opportunity to be accommodated in institutions where they can receive nutrition, 24-hour medical care services and also participate in active ageing programmes with their peers. It was believed that policies and programmes would reduce abuse, neglect and violence against the country’s senior citizens. Thus, to realise truly safe and supportive human relationships for the benefit of older persons, collaborative efforts rooted in Ubuntu are essential.

7.3  Older Persons in Context It is perhaps necessary to point out that issues and challenges that affect older persons are universal, meaning that they are not restricted to South Africa alone, but to global occurrences. When discussing older persons, it is also crucial to be mindful that this category is not homogenous; on the contrary, it varies in terms of race, gender, marital status, geographical location and education, among others. Largely due to the legacy of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa, access to health care, housing, water, sanitation, electricity and the risk of crime, violence and rape is determined hugely by race and by gender. It is not surprising that the biggest challenge that affects most black African older persons in South Africa is poverty which is concentrated in the country’s poorest provinces, states Statistics South Africa (StatsSA, 2017). In 2017, over three million older persons in the country were receiving old age pension grants (Stats SA, 2017). The prevalence of poverty leads to crime, which impacts mostly older persons whose mobility is low because of old age, disabilities and diseases. Older persons are thus not free to move around because of fear of violent crime and rape. For example, StatsSA (2019, p. 1) reveals that ‘the percentage of elderly-headed households who felt safe at night decreased by 6.9 percentage points during the reference period and during the day by 0.6 percentage points’. By implication, human relationships in South African communities have become less cohesive to guarantee safety and security for older persons. The reality of broken families in South Africa is a relic of apartheid policies of exclusion, which targeted mostly African blacks, most of whom are older persons today. The 1966 Group Areas Act enforced restrictions on the movement and social and economic participation on black people (Noyoo & Sobantu, 2019; Ntema, 2011). Families were destroyed, as men were confined in hostels as pools of labour, leaving women to take care of their children in the ‘Homelands’. This is the root cause of Female Headed Households (FHHs) in the country, where some older

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women are now compelled to take care of their children and grand-children alone (Mtshali, 2016; Schatz & Gilbert, 2014). Mtshali (2016) indicates that many older women in South Africa are strained as they have to care for their children and grand-­ children who are HIV-positive. As their income is insufficient to cover all their financial responsibilities, many older persons often take up extra menial jobs to supplement their pension grants, noted the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) (2016). This is evidence of a serious lack of healthy human relationships and community partnerships that can take responsibility for vulnerable individuals. Baloyi (2015, p. 6) reports that, mostly in urban areas, there is evidence of the ‘violation of older persons’ human rights escalating as many of them are forced to change their property rights ownership to children and relatives, whilst others are raped and even killed’. On 30 January 2020, it was reported that a 62-year-old mother in Mpumalanga had been murdered by her two daughters who hoped they would cash in on her life insurance (Grobler, 2020). These are some of the consequences of broken family relationships that directly affect older persons. The harsh economic situation and climate change also contribute to the corrosion of positive societal values and indigenous social security systems in the country. Incessant droughts adversely impact on agrarian economies in the rural areas, forcing the younger generation to move to urban areas in search of gainful economic livelihoods (Mokoene, 2017). The ripple effect of this reality is that that older parents are not only left to care for their grand-children, but are also exposed to boredom and depression, and more prone to violent crime, rape and sexual abuse with very slim support systems to shield and protect them (Mokoene, 2017; Mtshali, 2016). Older persons can no longer rely on the African traditional values and ethos of collegiality, reciprocity and mutuality which are slowly being eroded by the culture of individualism (Patel & Wilson, 2004). With dwindling social capital in the communities, older persons experience rape, financial abuse, neglect and violent crime. Some older women in the country have experienced the worst form of cruelty where they have been murdered because of allegations of witchcraft (Meel, 2009, p.  63). This is because of ignorance, negative attitudes and stereotypes against senior citizens that their right to life is being violated in this manner. Baloyi (2015) and Meel (2009) argue that societies should make efforts to understand ageing and older persons. Older adults are also relational beings who have a right to be heard in the societies and to have their rights respected. In the excerpt below, SAHRC (2016, p. 15) gives an overview on the kinds of social abuse cases against older persons, which are a sign of weak human relationships that are devoid of care, understanding and concern for the well-being of senior citizens: Throughout Africa, older persons are experiencing abuse from members of their communities who should be supporting and protecting them. Older persons are accused of witchcraft, are deprived of food and shelter by relatives, or are victims of sexual abuse. As recently as April 2013, the Commission issued a statement condemning the abuse of older persons, and particularly of older women, after a 92-year-old woman was allegedly brutally raped in the North West Province, while in KwaZulu-Natal, an 80-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her grandson. These acts of violence against older persons are in urgent need of attention.


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These cases undermine the social development goal of ending all violence, prejudice and social discrimination (United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], 1999). According to the UNDP (1999), all human beings need an enabling environment in which to exercise their Constitutional rights with access to social and economic opportunities.

7.4  The Way Forward As a suggestion for amenable living circumstances for older persons, this chapter observes that integrated living spaces coupled with kind and understanding families and communities are crucial for older persons to interact freely with their peers and others in the society. The author also proposes two social development-orientated intervention strategies that have a huge potential to restore positive human relationships in South Africa that would benefit older persons. These are adequate housing and strengthening pro-poor collaborations and partnerships in the communities.

7.5  C  onsidering Adequate Housing to Enhance Healthy Human Relationships for Older Persons Housing plays an integral role in organising human relationships. Hohmann (2013, p. 13) points out that housing ‘undergirds all social and economic relations’ in the society. In other words, it is in housing that people should practise and experience Ubuntu, with families and communities expressing generosity, empathy, care, interconnectedness and consideration to older persons. Life begins, and is moulded by, and ends in housing. Housing shapes people’s identities and histories which are laden with emotional recollections that are of sentimental value, especially to senior citizens. Older persons appreciate these socio-historical and cultural memories which they often share with the younger generations. Thus, the quality of housing in each home determines the kinds of human relationships that the community would hitherto have towards its vulnerable populations. In other words, families need to deliberately build nurturing end-of-life housing and support arrangements for their senior citizens. Instead of being viewed as simply physical structures, housing and human settlements can be purposefully tailored to be more inclusive and adapted to meet the specific social needs of older persons. Adequate and inclusive housing provides safe surrounding spaces where older persons can exercise their right to privacy and freedom to walk in their neighbourhood without any fear of being raped or murdered. A bottom-up shift of attitudes is needed by all stakeholders to ensure that homes and housing environments foster healthy human relationships for older persons. Barlett (1997, pp. 169–170) in Kenyon (2003, p. 104) explains that:

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human life is inevitably embedded in a concrete physical world. We shape this world and endow it with meaning, and in return are shaped, stimulated, restricted, and supported by the places we occupy… the physical environment is essential, indeed, to a fuller understanding of the contexts of development and socialisation.

Based on the foregoing excerpt, cultivating quality, empathetic and caring relationships in homes bears positive effects in enhancing healthy human relationships and invariably improving the quality of life of the senior citizens. Housing is also one of the key determinants of health of individuals, families and communities (Howden-Chapman, Chandola, Stafford, & Marmot, 2011; Howden-­ Chapman, Signal, & Crane, 1999). Whether ageing-in-place (in their families) (Vasunilashorn, Steinman, Liebig, & Pynoos, 2012) or in Residential Care Facilities (RCFs), housing is the foundation of social care for older persons (Harrison & Heywood, 2000). Social care is moulded by human relationships. The relationships between older persons and their significant others in homes and the neighbourhoods determine if older persons will have access to medical health care, and whether they will suffer neglect and other kinds of abuses that affect their health and well-being. This is especially true for frail older persons and those with limited mobility because of ageing and disabilities. In Home-Based Care (HBC) centres and even in healthcare institutions, care givers should be patient and understanding while being informed by Ubuntu, at all times. Kotzé (2018) reports that medical personnel in healthcare institutions are known to perpetrate violence and abuse against older persons in various ways. It should also be remembered that not all older persons are in the care of extended families and the communities. The 2006 Older Persons Act provides for residential care facilities to offer alternative housing for qualifying older persons (RSA, 2006). However, institutionalisation of older persons is under public scrutiny since the Life Esidimeni scandal in which 94 mostly older patients died between March 2016 and December 2019, according to the Office of the Health Ombud (OHO) (2019). Thus, emphasising adequate housing and positive human relations for older persons in both families and institutions needs to be prioritised. The author contends that families and personnel in institutions should always be guided by ‘Ubuntu as the presence of the divine, directing a person away from bad behaviour towards good’ (van Breda, 2019, p. 440) when working with older persons. It is also time for social work and other social service professionals, as part of their human rights practice (Murdach, 2011; Potgieter, 2007), to be more involved in building developmental human relationships in families and institutions so as to protect the rights of older persons.

7.6  C  ollaborative Partnerships to Promote Healthy Relationships for Older Persons In view of the incidents of neglect, rape, murder and poverty that lead to strained human relationships for older persons in South Africa (Baloyi, 2015; Makiwane, 2011; Mtshali, 2015, 2016; Noyoo, 2017; OHO, 2019; SAHRC, 2016), the author


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proposes strengthening family–community and community–government–civil society partnerships. These relationships should be immersed in the Ubuntu philosophy which underscores ‘reciprocity, selflessness and symbiosis’ (Osei-Hwedie, 2007, p. 109). This is the goal of the White Paper – to ‘build a self-reliant nation in partnership with all stakeholders through an integrated social welfare system’ (Ministry of Welfare and Population Development, 1997). While providing citizens’ needs is a government responsibility, the White Paper calls for families, civil society, private and voluntary sectors to form capable partnerships with each other to establish and maintain healthy human relationships in the society (Patel, 2015). The Life Esidimeni scandal was contrary to Ubuntu, a shame to older persons and humanity and it could have been averted if all families were aware of their roles of monitoring their older persons in institutions. Averting similar scandals in future demands that all stakeholders concentrate their energies on strengthening caring linkages for the well-­being of older persons in the society. As a primary system in social care, the family is often neglected – with the role that it plays internally and in community relationships. According to Durkheim, the values that each family inculcates into its members permeate the community, informing standards of behaviour and moulding human relationships (Ritzer, 2010). Consciously, families should intentionally infuse, promote and continuously monitor the attitudes that they feed into the community. On the one hand, families should play an active role in checking whether attitudes on older persons in institutions and the community advance the rights of older persons. Redefining ageing and older persons should start within families, by positively framing senior citizens as human beings with wealth of experiential knowledge, skills and wisdom that they can pass to the younger generations. The author hopes that such efforts will recoup respect for older persons and strengthen care, understanding and support systems for them in the society. In the following excerpt, Okoye et al. (2017, p. 180) articulate the responsibility that families have in modelling positive attitudes and constructive human relationships for older adults, by re-awaken[ing] the African communalism and extended family system... is imperative and should be encouraged... Older adults should be loved, accepted and cared for. Special attention should be given to them by talking, listening and meeting their needs at appropriate time. They should be allowed to participate in social and community activities, uphold their privacy and make plans based on their wishes. To this effect [family and institutional] caregivers of the aged must be more supportive and caring.

In essence, families ought to be aware of the powerful role that they play in the mixed economy of social care and welfare, specifically on enriching human relationships for the benefit of vulnerable populations. Poverty strains human relationships, with older persons being at high risk of neglect and financial abuse, as their pension is often forcefully taken away by family members (Baloyi, 2015; SAHRC, 2016). Poverty breeds crime which mostly targets women and older persons in the community. In such cases where poverty and crime are endemic, the role of the church through its pastoral services also needs to be recognised. The police and the law  alone  cannot be able to adequately address the sociological phenomenon of crime against older persons. While government, private and voluntary sectors could

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render material support, Baloyi (2015) clarifies that the church has a spiritual role of inculcating love and care for the vulnerable population. He points out that: the church’s primary responsibility is to care for and teach the younger generation about elderly people... [about]... the biblical principle of ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself [which] should be the basis of all relationships... the commandment of honour and love towards our elderly people (Baloyi, 2015, pp. 5-6).

Social service professions, including social workers, also have a part to play in this area in a collaborative fashion. The professions’ role transcends providing counselling to families to raising awareness on the rights of older persons and strengthening inter-generational collaborations in the community. For example, developmental social work with its special focus on improving the economic capital of poor communities should be prioritised in order to enhance poor families’ livelihoods. In the immediate-to-long term, such efforts ease the pressure that older persons have in providing for their grandchildren and the financial abuse they experience (Beales, 2000; SAHRC, 2016) in the society. Continuous assessment by social workers and other stakeholders is imperative to root out all divisive and prejudicial sentiments that undermine healthy human relationships. The role that the NPOs are playing in the communities, through various community-­based and care services should be appreciated. In partnership with government, NPOs are mandated by the NPO Act (No. 71 of 1997) and the Older Persons’ Act to set up luncheon clubs, service centres, HBC centres and RCFs for older persons. While these institutions have played a crucial role in social care and strengthening relational ties towards the care of older persons, it is the families and communities that should model developmental attitudes and a caring climate regarding older persons. In the collaborative relationships, the role of the biological families of old older persons and their communities has not been emphasised in demanding accountability from the service providers. The author contends that families should be at the forefront of making sure that services to their older persons by community-based institutions hinge on humane relationships premised on Ubuntu.

7.7  Conclusion In concluding this reflective piece, it is clear that families, communities, government and other stakeholders urgently need to invest in human relationships, if they are serious about the social and economic well-being of older persons. Evidence points out that the rights of numerous poor older adults are being violated through financial abuse, rape and allegations of witchcraft in post-apartheid South Africa. Most of these crimes are perpetuated by misunderstandings of ageing and older people in the families and communities. Consequently, negative attitudes and poor relationships with older persons beget the violation of the older persons’ rights. Social workers and other stakeholders urgently need to conduct awareness and


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educational campaigns on families and institutions on rights-based approaches to understanding older persons and how the society could contribute to building a healthy environment for the senior citizens. Individually, families and institutions are ill-equipped to address negative attitudes against older persons, but in collaboration with each other, all can learn the practices that could boost the quality of social care and the overall well-being of older persons.

References Baloyi, M. E. (2015). A pastoral investigation into some of the challenges associated with aging and retirement in the South African context. In die Skriflig, 49(3), 1–10. Barlett, S. N. (1997). Housing as a factor in the socialistion of children: A critical review of the literature. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 43(2), 169–198. Beales, S. (2000). Why we should invest in older women and men: The experiences of HelpAge International. Gender and Development, 8(2), 9–18. Burns, D., Hyde, P., & Killett, A. (2013). Wicked problems of wicked people: Reconceptualising problems and solutions in residential care. Sociology of Health and Illness, 35, 514–228. Gray, M. (2006). The progress of social development in Southern Africa. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15, 53–64. Grobler, R. (2020, January 30). Two Barberton sisters allegedly kill their own mother for R80K life insurance payout. News 24.. Retrieved from Harrison, L., & Heywood, F. (2000). Health begins at home: Planning at the health–housing interface for older people. Bristol, England: The Policy Press. Help Age International. (2002). African Union policy framework and plan of action on ageing. Nairobi, Kenya: Help Age International. Retrieved from view/7946434 Hohmann, J. (2013). The right to housing law, concepts, possibilities. Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing. Howden-Chapman, P., Signal, L., & Crane, J. (1999). Housing and health in older people: Ageing in place. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 13, 14–30. Howden-Chapman, P. L., Chandola, T., Stafford, M., & Marmot, M. (2011). The effect of housing on the mental health of older people: The impact of lifetime housing history in Whitehall II. Public Health, 11(682), 1–8. Kelly, G., Mrengwa, L., & Geffen, L. (2019). “They dint care about us”: Older persons’ experiences of primary healthcare in Cape Town, South Africa. BMJ Geriatric, 19(98), 1–14. Kenyon, E. (2003). Young adults’ household formation: Individualisation, identity and home. In A. G. Jones (Ed.), Social relations and the life course: Explorations in sociology (pp. 103–119). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Kotzé, C. (2018). Elder abuse: The current state of research in South Africa. Frontiers in Public Health. Retrieved from Makiwane, M. (2011, 12 October). The older persons and their relationship with younger generations in South Africa. Paper presented at Aging Explosion: Opportunities and Challenges, Bali, Indonesia. Meel, B. L. (2009). Witchcraft in Transkei region of South African: Case report. African Health Sciences, 9(1), 61–64. Midgley, J. (1995). Social development: The developmental perspective in social welfare. London: Sage Publications. Ministry of Welfare & Population Development. (1997, August 8). White Paper for social welfare. Government Gazette. 386(18166). Pretoria: Government Printer.

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Mokoene, K. (2017). A sociological enquiry on the effects of internal labour migration on livelihood strategies and the constitution of labour migrant households (MA dissertation). University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. Mtshali, M. N. G. (2015). The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren in the black families in South Africa. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 46(1), 75–83. Mtshali, M. N. G. (2016). Role reversal of rural black grandparents in South Africa. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 47(3), 369–377. Murdach, A. D. (2011). Is social work a human rights profession? Social Work, 56(3), 281–283. Mysyuk, Y., & Westendorp, R. G. (2015). Listening to the voices of abused older people: Should we classify system abuse. British Medical Journal, 350, 1-3. Noyoo, N. (2017). Reflecting on the human rights of older persons in South Africa. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 2(4), 108–116. Noyoo, N. (2018). Social policy in South Africa: A call for social re-engineering. The Thinker, 77, 22–27. Noyoo, N., & Sobantu, M. (2019). Deconstructing and decolonising spatiality: Voluntary and affordable housing for a transforming Johannesburg. In M. T. Myambo (Ed.), Reversing urban spatiality (pp. 35–42). London: Routledge. Ntema, L. J. (2011). Self-help housing in South Africa: Paradigms, policy and practice (Doctoral thesis). University of Free State, Free State, South Africa. Office of the Health Ombud (OHO). (2019). The report into the circumstances surrounding the death of mentally ill patients: Gauteng Province. Retrieved from wp-content/uploads/2017/05/FINALREPORT.pdf Okoye, U., Ebimbgo, S., & Eneh, J. (2017). Social work with older persons. In U.  Okoye, N. Chukwu, & P. Agwu (Eds.), Social work in Nigeria: Book of readings (pp. 172–183). Enugu State, Nigeria: University of Nigeria State. Osei-Hwedie, K. (2007). Afro-centrism: The challenge of social development. Social Work/ Maatskaplike Werk, 43(2). Patel, L. (2005). Social welfare & social development in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Patel, L. (2015). Social welfare & social development in South Africa (2nd ed.). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Patel, L., & Wilson, T. (2004). Civic service in sub-Saharan Africa. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 33(4_suppl), 22S–38S. Potgieter, M. C. (2007). The social work process: Development to empower people. Cape Town, South Africa: Prentice Hall. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (1994). White Paper for reconstruction and development. Cape Town, South Africa: Government Printer. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (1996). Constitution of South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (2006). Older persons’ act. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Ritzer, G. (2010). Sociological theory (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. Schatz, E., & Gilbert, L. (2014). “My legs affect me a lot.… I can no longer walk to the forest to fetch firewood”: Challenges related to health and the performance of daily tasks for older women in a high HIV context. Health Care for Women International, 35(7–9), 771–788. South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). (2016). Human rights and older persons. Johannesburg, South Africa: SAHRC. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). (2017). Media release: Social profile of older persons 2011-2015.. Retrieved from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). (2019). Statistical release: Mid-year population estimates 2019. Retrieved from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). (2015). World population prospects 2019: Highlights. Retrieved from:


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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (1999). Human development report. New York: United Nations. van Breda, A. D. (2019). Developing the notion of Ubuntu as African theory for social work practice. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 55(4), 439–450. Vasunilashorn, S., Steinman, B., Liebig, P., & Pynoos, J. (2012). Aging in place: Evolution of a research topic whose time has come. Journal of Aging Research. https://doi. org/10.1155/2012/120952 World health Organisation (WHO). (2018). Ageing and health. Retrieved from https://www.who. int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health

Chapter 8

Fostering Healthy Human Relationships with People with Disabilities in Post-Apartheid South Africa Laetitia Petersen

8.1  Introduction People with disabilities have received considerable attention in the last 25 years in South Africa. Even though we are living in a post-apartheid South Africa, society generally is still dealing with and attempting to respond to the after-effects and impacts of challenges caused by colonialism and apartheid. The legacy carried forward, from apartheid, has not only filtered our understanding and beliefs but has been instrumental in the discrimination and alienation of people with disabilities (PWD). Currently, a continuous struggle exists to distance our society from the dominance of the medical or biomedical models, institutionalisation and residual approaches. It is in acknowledging the above that this chapter aims to provide the context for the fostering of healthy human relationships with PWD and the safeguarding of their rights in South Africa. In addressing some of the fundamental challenges regarding this topic, this chapter will provide an overview of the post-­ apartheid trends and actions taken in the South African context. The inception of the Constitution of South Africa (1996) and in particular the fundamentals enshrined in the Bill of Rights gave rise to instrumental developments within the South African context, with regard to disability. Taking into account the importance of, and the influence of, developments of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Disabilities in 2006 (World Health Organisation [WHO], 2006), policy and legislative developments within South Africa will receive greater attention. The main purpose will be to indicate how the different policies and legal frameworks promote inclusivity and a rights-based orientation, which is in line with not only the Constitution but also the social development approach.

L. Petersen (*) Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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This major change also influenced the understanding of disability and reframing the relevant concepts of impairment, disability and handicap accordingly. In the post-apartheid South African context, the social model of disability in conjunction with the United Nations developed community-based rehabilitation model (CBRM) which is the model adopted to ensure inclusivity, accessibility and empowerment of PWD.  Both these models include, link and align very well with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the social determinants of health. The social model of disability gave rise to the stance that the structure and organisation of society is the problem and not PWD. Therefore, the acknowledgements with regard to achievements and challenges, related to the aforementioned, will be offered in this chapter. In the end, it is acknowledged that South Africa is a diverse country faced with many difficulties. PWD forms part of this diversity and social problems. South Africa has attempted to achieve a great deal, to make the living circumstances of PWD better, but it is still a long way from fully achieving this. The next section provides a historical overview to issues of disability in South Africa.

8.2  Historical Overview The World Health Report on Disability of the World Health Organization (WHO) (2011) indicates that the global burden of disease with regard to disability is estimated as 975 million (19.4%) people. As according to the South African statistical overview from 2011, the South African national disability prevalence rate was 7.5%, i.e. 2,870,130 of the population, according to the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP) (2017) and Statistics South Africa (2011). This disability prevalence seems to be dominantly black (2,381,668 and 82% of the entire population with a disability) and female (i.e. 8.3% of this population) (SABPP, 2017; Statistics South Africa, 2011). It should also be noted that 25%, that is, 718,409 people from this population, are aged between 5 and 19  years. This is therefore indicative of the motivation for the White Paper Six according to the Department of Education (DoE) (2001) which advocates inclusive and mainstream basic education. Considering this high rate of PWD, it is to be expected that disability and the rights of the PWD will be at the forefront of the dominant discourses of transformation and inclusivity in South Africa. This expectation is however not validated from the current realisations (Du Plessis, 2013). From the above, it should be noted that the majority of South Africa’s population for PWD is black, female and children. The vulnerability of this group is therefore compounded by their already weak status in society due to their race, gender or age. Post-apartheid South Africa came with its own and very diverse challenges that are still in the process of being addressed. One such aspect that was a major challenge to address in the colonial aftermath was the rights of people with disability (PWD). The South African Constitution (1996) was the document that cemented and enshrined the rights of all South Africans; therefore, it is an instrumental and powerful force. The United Nations Convention on Disability (WHO, 2006)

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contains numerous articles to promote the rights and well-being of PWD. The purpose of this document was to have a consensus of the agenda regarding PWD and dictates: The purpose of the present Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. (WHO, 2006, p. 5)

Immediately after the enactment of the South African Constitution, several White Papers, Acts and policies were birthed to aid the country’s transformation, non-­ discrimination, acknowledgement and embracing of indigenous knowledge and practices and inclusivity. Some of the major documents that were developed to specifically address PWD, rights of PWD and inclusivity are the following: • • • • • • • • • • • •

White Paper Six – Special Needs Education (2001) White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS) (1998) Disability Framework for Local Government: 2009–2014 Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of People with Disabilities (2005) Code of Good Practice on Key Aspects of Disability in the Workplace (1998) Basic Conditions of Employment Act Amended, 2002 (Act No. 10 of 2002) Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998 International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (2002) Labour Relations Act (Act No. 66 of 1995) Policy on Disability (2017) Integrated National Strategy on Disability (2015) National Development Plan 2030 (2011)

The White Paper Six (Department of Education, 2001) was formulated specifically for accessibility and inclusion of children with disabilities into the mainstream school system, instead of special schools. It should be noted this is in line with the movement away from institutionalisation and ‘othering’ of PWD, which was the predominance of the apartheid era. It must also be acknowledged that this paper is of extreme importance considering that 25% of the PWD population is in the age group 5–19 years (Statistics South Africa, 2011). In principle, this White Paper is ground-breaking and embraces the dignity of all children, but the ideals of the paper may be neglected due to challenges with the practical application and implementation. Adewuni and Mosito (2019), Donohue and Bornman (2014) and Du Plessis (2013) all reflected on the structural challenges and lack of experienced competent teachers in meeting the goals of the White Paper. The resultant effect of the White Paper on the Integrated National Disability Strategy (The Office of the Deputy President, 1997) manifested firstly in the Integrated National Strategy for Disability in 2015 and, secondly, in the Policy on Disability in 2017. Both documents will receive some attention in this chapter as these are dictating the agenda for issues relating to disabilities, the rights of PWD and PWD.


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The Integrated National Disability Strategy (Department of Social Development, 2015), which apprises the original White Paper on the Integrated National Disability Strategy of 1997  (The Office of the Deputy President, 1997), acknowledges the importance of the rights of PWD and, as a result, elevates this aspect to a directorate status housed in the Office of the Deputy President of South Africa. Currently, it forms part of the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities in the Presidency. This ministry specifically groups the most vulnerable and hopes to address their challenges. The motivation for pronouncing disability to directorate level essentially is based on the lack of correct information in South Africa about PWD but also to offer momentum to the cause and encourage and enhance inclusivity (Department of Social Development, 2015). Furthermore, it acknowledges that during apartheid, disability was the sole responsibility of the welfare and health sectors (Department of Social Development, 2015). To this end, alienation occurred in the past according to the application of the medical model that translated into institutionalisation, rather than accepting PWD into their communities, enforced by welfare and society as a whole. Thus, apartheid contributed to the success of alienating PWD and subjugating them to the status of less than human, without any concept of self-determination and rights. The Integrated National Disability Strategy (Department of Social Development, 2015) calls for the inclusion and integration of PWD in all sectors of society and government. This is a great milestone for the rights of PWD. The document further addresses the inclusion of those with disabilities as well as acknowledges the social model of disability as the viable approach for South Africa (Department of Social Development, 2015). Another important document is the Policy on Disability (Department of Social Development, 2017). This policy acknowledges key fundamentals that were absent during the apartheid period. In the spirit of the transformative agenda, there is acknowledgement of the implementation of the social development approach; this policy mandated first and profoundly entrenched self-representation (self-determination) of PWD. This is an achievement, as previously PWD were not considered competent to represent themselves. Furthermore, this policy calls for a co-ordinated national strategy and inter-sectoral collaboration to promote the development of guidelines to meet the special needs of individuals. It also envisaged public education programmes, where all children with disabilities, in particular those between the age of 5 and 19 years, will be included in mainstream schooling, which is evidenced in White Paper Six, as indicated earlier. Furthermore, this paper emphasises the human resource development of PWD and employment programmes that are geared to including and developing PWD (Department of Social Development, 2017). The Policy on Disability (Department of Social Development, 2017) attempts to provide practical viable actions to meet all the ideals set out to aid the rights and inclusion of PWD. The key principles of this document resonate with the Constitution and White Papers regarding inclusivity, non-discrimination, self-determination, accessibility, etc. This policy provides three programmes to achieve the indicated ideals, namely, social security, social welfare and community development programmes (Department of Social Development, 2017). Accordingly, the social security programmes address the provision of financial assistance and grant to the poor, vulnerable and those with special needs. The social welfare programme’s main focus is to

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reduce poverty and vulnerability by offering various supportive services. The community development programme addresses community mobilisation, utilising a strength-based approach, empowerment and community development programmes (Department of Social Development, 2017). The Policy on Disability (Department of Social Development 2017) also stresses that to successfully assist and include PWD, collaboration and cross-cutting service delivery are important. Issues therefore with regard to PWD cannot be resolved in isolation. South Africa has also made great strides with the inclusion of PWD in the employment sector. Currently, the Employment Equity Act (Department of Labour, 1998) provides a preference for not only those previously marginalised, including females, but also PWD. In fact, the employment of PWD is encouraged and should be part of any employer’s transformation plans that are monitored by the Department of Labour. Therefore, the inclusion of the previously marginalised, females, and PWD carries with it great legal implications for employers. This, therefore, is a concrete step employed from government to enact the vision of inclusivity. There are obvious limitations with regard to the readiness of the employment sector to include PWD particularly with regard to specialised equipment and structural challenges (Foley & Ferri, 2012). For instance, in 2016, the Commission for Employment Equity (Department of Labour 2016) maintained that minimal progress had been made with regard to the employment of those individuals with disabilities. The National Planning Commission in 2011 also developed the National Development Plan Vision 2030  in which it addresses the ideals for all sectors of society. The vision as set out in this document encompasses the movement to eradicate poverty, to offer inclusive education, access to health, the focus of academia, etc., amongst others.  This is a strategic document for South Africa. Shockingly, disability as a separate category is not listed in this document. With regard to legislation and endearing the rights-based principles, South Africa has made great strides, but the application and implementation of these principles have been less successful, where various structural challenges and exclusions are still permeating. From this offered overview, it should be noted that the post-­ apartheid agenda for PWD disability has been that of inclusivity for all sectors of society. South Africa has done well in developing a vision, key principles and policies. Its greatest challenge is with the implementation. Hereafter, conceptualising disability will be considered.

8.3  Conceptualising Disability Previously the medical model was utilised to make sense of disability and to label PWD in the post-apartheid era. In line with the vision offered under the historical overview, South Africa has adopted the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO, 2002) and the social model of disability (Department of Social Development, 2015; WHO, 2002). The concepts of impairment, disability and handicap have been selected to explain disability. This is essential as it separates


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Fig. 8.1  Impairment, disability and handicap

the medical aspects and the perceived constraints inflicted by society from the PWD. These concepts in a sense attempt to restore the dignity of PWD. Impairment may be viewed as any medical or physical condition or limitation that may result in disability or the perception of being handicapped (Carter, 2018; Jones, 2001; Pharoah, 1990; WHO, 2002). A disability may be perceived as the impact due to the interaction between people living with impairments and barriers which manifests physically, socially and due to interactions. This, therefore, implies the stairs that the physical environment presents result in the manifestation of disability (Jones, 2001; Pharoah, 1990; WHO, 2002). A handicap refers to society’s perception and refers to the ‘disadvantage’ or ‘limitation’ that is imposed or forced on those with an impairment (Jones, 2001). This view is stereotypical of PWD. The perception is therefore that being handicapped prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal depending on age, sex and social and cultural factors. A lack of role fulfilment is evident. Figure 8.1, illustrated by the author, represents an overview of these terms bestowed on the individual. The crucial issue in understanding the above-mentioned is therefore that disability is not a lack of or an inability, but is to be differently abled or the author’s personal preference diversely abled. In fact, society imposes the limitations on PWD. So, the understanding of the above three concepts indicated the movement from societal constraints to considering this population as diverse with unique attributes.

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8.4  M  odels Aimed at Improving Conditions for PWD and Relationships with Society From the Declaration of ALMA ATA (WHO, 1978) in September 1978 by the United Nations (WHO, 2010), the community-based rehabilitation model (CBRM) was incepted as the strategy to transform service delivery to PWD, to enhance their quality of life and to ensure inclusion in sectors of society and participation (WHO, 2010). Considering the model’s five matrix areas, it is clear that it was incorporated while bearing in mind the SDGs and social determinants of health. Therefore, this model determines the vision of inclusivity, accessibility, poverty alleviation, empowerment and support for PWD. The CBR matrix consists of a grid of five key components, namely, Health, Education, Livelihood, Social and Empowerment, which in turn are each divided into five key elements (WHO, 2010). If we consider the category of Health, we can denote that the five key elements are promotion, prevention, medical care, rehabilitation and assistive devices (WHO, 2010). Promotion here would refer to the promotion of better health and well-being. Prevention would refer to strategies that will minimise or restrict the development of other diseases or conditions. The other elements address where there is a need and PWD access to appropriate and effective health care, rehabilitation and assistive devices (WHO, 2010). In South Africa, considering the economics and the social determinants of health; access to appropriate and geographically accessible health care is problematic. The offering of assistive devices is not always economically feasible, and then for extreme periods, the PWD have to go without the former. This, in turn, affects their dignity but also places a great deal of pressure on families or carers. To avoid this dilemma, several individuals, or rather their families, will opt that these individuals be placed in institutional care. This then works against the vision of community-­ based care and being part of the community. The second component of the CBRM matrix is education, and its five elements are Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Higher Learning and Non-formal and Lifelong Learning (WHO, 2010). This component and its five elements link well with the South African vision for inclusive education as highlighted in White Paper Six and the National Development Plan. This component highlights where the intervention should occur and what would be required at each stage. The social determinants of health also acknowledge education and how the lack of education may hamper the individual’s progress and access to opportunities. These aspects are also well described in in the Employment Equity Act (Department of Labour, 1998) where the development of PWD and life-long learning are also directed. This links to goal four of the sustainable development goals, namely, inclusive and equitable education and promotion of life-long learning opportunities according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) (2020). The third component is that of livelihood and contains skills development, self-­ employment, wage employment, financial services and social protection (WHO, 2010). The national agenda for South Africa is focused on skills development and can be well observed in the various types of programmes in this area. Small business development is also enabled as well as great strides are made in regulating the


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employment of those with disabilities. Social security programmes also attempt to address the needs of PWD.  The concern is that most people in South Africa are solely dependent on social security services than exploring self-­employment, etc. The lack of job creation also bears heavily upon the employability of PWD. This component is also well addressed in SDGs as well as social determinants of health. The social determinants of health point out that if the individual is employed and has to decide between earning money and attending required health care; the individual may decide to rather earn an income than be compliant with treatment. Also, if the individual does not have money to attend a clinic, he/she will not do so. Therefore, when the person turns up for much-needed health-care services, the person is admitted into the health-care facility which in turn bears heavily on the health facility and works against outpatient or community-based service delivery. The fourth component is social aspects, and the five elements are personal assistance, relationships, marriage and family, culture and arts, recreation and sports, and justice (WHO, 2010). This component includes a myriad of aspects that generally contributes to the psychological well-being of the individual, family, friends and community. A disability may create huge challenges and stress on relationships, support systems, caring of the persons, finances and the recreation of the person and family. In essence, the person with the disability should be more than the disability. The disability should not detract from the family and the person of having altruistic interests and hobbies that should be explored. The social determinants of health also have a component that addresses these aspects. This also addresses discrimination and stereotypes. The fifth component is empowerment and includes advocacy and communication, community mobilisation, political participation, self-help groups and disabled organisation (WHO, 2010). These aspects are well represented from the South African Constitution throughout the various laws and policies in South Africa. The social model of disability and the federation of disabled organisations in South Africa also address these aspects very well.

8.5  Social Model of Disability The social model of disability was developed by PWD themselves, and this model aims to reinforce the agenda relevant for PWD (Alliance for Inclusive Education, 2018; Barnes, 2020; Department of Social Development, 2015). The social model of disability acknowledges the unequal relationships within a society in which the needs of people with impairments are often overlooked or receive minimal attention due to discrimination (Barnes, 2020; Department of Social Development, 2015; Retief & Letšosa, 2018). The social model is based on the belief that the circumstances of people with disabilities and the discrimination they face are socially created phenomena and have little to do with the impairments of PWD (Department of Social Development, 2015; Barnes, 2020; Retief & Letšosa, 2018). Hence, the structure of society is the problem. PWD are at a disadvantage due to society’s response to them, but also of their experience of the health and welfare systems, which made them feel socially isolated and oppressed. The social model of disability implies a paradigm shift in how we construct disability. An example is that if a

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building does not have wheelchair access, the problem is not the wheelchair but the building itself. Throughout the social model, attempts are made to identify the exclusions which are manifested in society for PWD (Barnes, 2020; Department of Social Development, 2015; Haegele & Hodge, 2016; Retief & Letšosa, 2018.) The social model, therefore, implies that the reconstruction and development of our society are in line with our country’s agenda of inclusivity and participation. In moving towards the social model, it is not only the government that leads the process but also organs of civil society. There are federations of organisations that are the watchdogs with regard to disability in South Africa. They are, namely: • • • • • • •

The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA) The South African Blind Worker Organisation of South Africa (SABWO) The National Organisation of the Blind in South Africa (NOBSA) The South African Mental Health Federation The Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (QUASA) The Down Syndrome Forum of South Africa The South African Epilepsy League (Department of Social Development, 2015)

It is therefore important to highlight the fact that the CBRM is a United Nations (UN) strategy to indicate the areas that society needs to transform to enable access to PWD and how South Africa’s use of the social model is about PWD making or influencing decisions to address barriers and challenges within our society.

8.6  Achievements and Challenges in the Post-apartheid Era The obvious achievement in the post-apartheid South Africa is the development of the necessary policy documents and legislation to address concerns regarding PWD, the rights of PWD, accessibility and inclusion. The whole movement was the attempt to break down stereotypes; improve the community-based services delivery, accessibility and inclusion of PWD; and increase the employment of PWD and development of viable infrastructure. To a certain extent, South Africa has been successful in the above. Due to awareness campaigns, legislation, acknowledgement of the rights and self-determination of PWD, attempts were made to break down certain stereotypes. The incorporation of new terminology for reference of PWD seems indicative of that as well as the promotion of dignity. The inclusion also manifested itself to include children with disability in mainstream education. Greater emphasis has also been on community resources and developing appropriate infrastructure for these services. South Africa has also made strides in acknowledging indigenous systems and cultures. However, even though South Africa can accept that strides were made, challenges are still apparent. As observed previously, there is not a specific Act that particularly addresses disability. It is not clear if the delay in formalising such a piece of legislation is due to the immense complexities involved. As disability affects all sectors, it is addressed in various policies and Acts. This may give the impression of fragmentation. Manoeuvring through the various policies and Acts


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may also be challenging. Not having an Act by itself also influences the perception that disability is not considered as important, that it is fragmented and that there is a limited consolidated view. It is hoped that the Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities will consolidate all the efforts regarding disability. There is also a lack of a concerted, incorporated and collaborative discussion throughout the various sectors of society in addressing the rights of PWD. The development of legislative frameworks and policies in this area is a wonderful achievement. This is unfortunately overshadowed by numerous structural, economic and human resource constraints in implementing the vision for disability (Adewuni & Mosito, 2019; Donohue & Bornman, 2014; Du Plessis, 2013). The South African school system in itself is faced with major challenges. The demand for inclusion and mainstreaming of education with regard to children and teenagers with physical disabilities are met with huge challenges. The infrastructure of schools may not be suitable. Apart from this, competent staff or well-trained teachers to teach children with various challenges is a great need in the South African schooling system (Adewuni & Mosito, 2019; Donohue & Bornman, 2014; Du Plessis, 2013). Even though tertiary institutions may be geared towards inclusive education and having disability rights units, it would seem that there is a struggle with successful inclusion. Mashimbyi (2018) in his research report reflected the views of ten participants with various disabilities about their perceptions of either inclusive tertiary education or rather specialised tertiary institutions for PWD. The participants indicated that they value the inclusive mandate, but they still feel that they are an afterthought and would rather want to encourage the exploration of special tertiary institutions for them (Mashimbyi, 2018). As can be noted, this is in total contrast with what the Constitution, South Africa’s vision, policies and Acts suggest regarding inclusion. Mabasa (2018) also indicates that PWD still feel very excluded and underrepresented in mass media in South Africa. From his study (Mabasa, 2018), ten participants also referred to how there is lack of PWD on the South African television network. They also indicated that when an interpreter is used for sign language, the image of the translator is usually very small and in the corner of the screen. The participants also mentioned how the use of closed captions is limited and geared at specific languages (Mabasa, 2018). Therefore, the language use and lack thereof are other excluding factors (Mabasa, 2018). Structural difficulties of impoverished communities also create immense problems with regard to access in the homes, independence and family life, resulting in frustration, stress for PWD and their families and also impacts on their well-being and dignity. Mkhize (2018) in her study explored the perceptions and experiences of family members with acquired physical disability in Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg. She reflected in her work on the structural overview and lack of resources of the Alexandra township in line with the views of Wilson (2002) were confirmed in the study by Mkhize (2018). All ten family members indicated the struggle they had in caring for their loved ones with the acquired disability. They also referred to how the homes are not friendly to assistive devices. Apart from this, all participants indicated that they were fearful of living with the PWD alone as they were an easy target in a crime-ridden community (Mkhize, 2018). Mkhize (2018)

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reported various challenges such as the physical environment, support, financial constraints and the impact on the family. From the study, the family members indicated that PWD seem to be excluded, seem to be a burden and also prevented family members from entertaining themselves (Mkhize, 2018). Mlotshwa (2019) in her study explored the experiences of PWD transitioning into a care facility. From her ten participants with disabilities, she also confirmed that due to the family members’ employment, the PWD would be sent to a day-care facility. Some of the participants indicated that this made them feel unwanted both at their home of origin and at the institution (Mlotshwa, 2019). Even though this was a community-based institution that attempts to aid the family in remaining economically viable and promoted inclusivity; PWD still felt removed from the general society. Apart from this, she also indicated that PWD felt excluded amongst others with a disability as it seemed that the discrimination amongst PWD was rife (Mlotshwa, 2019). The SABPP (2017) also indicated that the employment of PWD has constraints concerning accommodative structure, technology and assistive devices. Limited access to technologies that aid the PWD success and adaption to the workplace is also a major aspect (Diversityq, 2019; Foley & Ferri, 2012). Furthermore, cost of care of those with disabilities that need continual care, health care, operations and devices as well as costs associated just with daily living is reported to be high according to a pilot study in South Africa, which was facilitated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and National Department of Social Development (2015). Most of the population in this pilot study was reported to be impoverished and placed a burden on the health-care system (UNICEF & National Department of Social Development, 2015). With the acknowledgement of indigenous knowledge and practices, we need to also guard against the stereotypes and discrimination that may emanate from the former. Both Mkhize (2018) and Mlotshwa (2019) indicated in their studies that certain communities have perceptions of why a person is disabled. For example, certain cultural mores may view the person as disabled due to a curse being levied on them or that they have done something wrong, etc. Indigenous values of humanity (Ubuntu) should be embodied, but we need to guard against the moralistic interpretations, thereof, that may lead to discrimination, stereotyping and exclusion. Connecting with the inclusive mandate, it must be acknowledged that the cultural norms will also dictate measures that may be taken and will rather focus on humanity and including the person in society. There is therefore much to be learnt from Ubuntu and indigenous practices.

8.7  W  ay Forward in Fostering Continued Healthy Relationships for PWD South Africa has made great strides regarding inclusion and creating a better society for all, but the way forward will require effective leadership that will address the challenges that prevent the full inclusion of PWD and the development of healthy


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relationships within South Africa. In fostering healthy relationships with and for PWD, the following is noted: • The Ministry of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities is encouraged to provide a consolidated overview of disability and the expected outcomes for the various sectors of government and society. This framework should incorporate all legislative and policy frameworks. It should, therefore, navigate everyone through all the policies, Acts and procedures currently evident. In this manner, the agenda relevant for PWD will be focused and maintained. • South Africa, in general, needs resources and structural changes. This is also what is required for PWD. Resources and structural changes to communities, buildings and homes are needed. Training, skills development programmes and income-generating projects are required. How South Africa will realise this is another aspect to be considered. • Mass awareness creation campaigns and projects that emphasise the uniqueness of PWD are required. Mabasa’s (2018) study indicated these aspects and success stories that embrace the differently abled should receive extensive media coverage. Aligned with this is the movement away from institutional care, but also the development of the infrastructure to accommodate this movement. Here, ‘re-­ socialisation’ of society and breaking down of stereotypes and discrimination not only between society and PWD but amongst PWD themselves as well are suggested. For this mass awareness and ‘re-socialisation’, the use of Thompson’s (2006) anti-discriminatory practices model that addresses discrimination from a person, to the community, to society level, is advocated. This approach requires that to address any discrimination we need to deal with all these aspects successfully. Aiding this transformation, the optimal use of our community health-care workers and community developers are suggested. Community health-care workers will consider the social determinants of health, and they will work with the aid of community developers and will address discriminations and focus on developmental strategies that may contribute economically to PWD as well. Utilising the above strategies, acceptance and dignity amongst all groups and members of society will have to be encouraged. • Acknowledging and sustaining multigenerational care models that seem to be embedded in indigenous communities need to be advocated. This places the emphasis back on society’s humanity (Ubuntu) and encourages the fostering of healthy human relationships. • The SABPP (2017) offered several suggestions with regard to employment with PWD. This includes the development of an enabling environment where PWD may be employed, being proactive in addressing all aspects to foster equal opportunity employment, fostering the culture of acceptance and that all organisations’ wellness programmes should be inclusive of disability issues.

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8.8  Conclusion Post-apartheid South Africa’s embracing of a liberal Constitution facilitated the movement to a non-discriminatory and inclusive society. This vision birthed a myriad of policies and Acts that address the rights of PWD.  The density of the Acts brought with it the ideals and key principles to achieve but also challenges. The chapter provided an overview of how policies, legislation, models, strategies, etc. were implemented to ensure the rights of PWD and also their health and well-being. However, a major challenge is reconstructing our perception of disability and society’s response to PWD. The CBRM and the social model of disability are two vehicles that attempt to guide and rectify the responses from society with regard to PWD. The social model of disability itself places the decision-making power in the hands of PWD. All the challenges mentioned may be remedied by a concerted uniformed collaborative strategy to address issues and rights of PWD, thereby encouraging the fostering of healthy relationships. Undoubtedly, South Africa has a long way to go, but great strides have been made, and hopefully, the vision will be reached.

References Adewuni, T. M., & Mosito, C. (2019). Experiences of teachers in implementing inclusion of learners with special education needs in selected Fort Beaufort District primary schools. Cogent Education, 6(1703446), 1–20. Alliance for Inclusive Education. (2018). The social model of disability: Alliance for inclusive education. Retrieved from social-model-disability/ Barnes, C. (2020). Understanding the Social Model of Disability. New York: Routledge. Carter, S. L. (2018). Impairment, disability and handicap. Atlanta, GA: Emory University School of Medicine. Department of Education (DoE). (2001). White Paper 6: Special needs education: Building an inclusive education and training system. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Education. Department of Labour (DoL). (1998). Employment Equity Act No 55 of 1998. Cape Town, South Africa: Government Printers. Department of Labour (DoL). (2016). The Commission of Employment Equity, 2015–2016 annual report. Retrieved from Department of Social Development. (1997). White Paper on the Integrated National Disability Strategy. Cape Town, South Africa: Government Printers. files/gcis_document/201409/disability2.pdf Department of Social Development (DSD). (2015). National disability strategy. Pretoria, South Africa: DSD. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2017). Policy on disability. Pretoria, South Africa: DSD. Diversityq. (2019). Disabled knowledge workers limited by outdated workplace technology. Retrieved from Du Plessis, P. (2013). Legislation and policies: Progress towards the right to inclusive education. De Jure Law Journal, 46(1), 76–92. Donohue, D., & Bornman, J. (2014). The challenges of realising inclusive education in South Africa. South African Journal of Education, 34(2), 1.


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Foley, A., & Ferri, B. A. (2012). Technology for people, not disabilities: Ensuring access and inclusion. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(4), 102–200. Haegele, J. A., & Hodge, S. (2016). Disability discourse: Overview and critiques of the medical and social models. Quest, 6, 193–206. Jones, R. B. (2001). Equality and disability symposium Impairment, disability and handicap – old fashioned concepts? Journal of Medical Ethics, 27, 377–379. Mabasa, V. (2018). Exploring the perceptions of people living with disabilities in Soweto, regarding their inclusion and exclusion in the South African media platform (Undergraduate thesis). Johannesburg, Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Mashimbyi, B.  N. (2018). A case study on the perceptions of attendees at a special school, Johannesburg, regarding the absence of higher education special institutions in South Africa (Undergraduate thesis). Johannesburg, Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Mkhize, D. (2018). Exploring the experiences of those caring for individuals living with an acquired physical disability, Alexandra Township) (Undergraduate thesis). Johannesburg, Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Mlotshwa, B. (2019). Exploring the challenges experienced by persons with disabilities regarding the transition from home to institutional care (Undergraduate thesis). Johannesburg, Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Pharoah, P. O. (1990). Impairment, disability, and handicap. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 65, 819. Retrieved from Republic of South Africa (RSA). (1996). Constitution (Act No. 108 of 1996). Retrieved from Retief, M., & Letšosa, R. (2018). Models of disability: A brief overview. HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies, 74(1), 2072–8050. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2011). Statistics South Africa Census 2011. Pretoria, South Africa: StatsSA. South African Board of People Practice (SABPP). (2017). Annual report. Retrieved from https:// The National Planning Commission (NPC). (2011). National Development Plan Vision for 2030. South Africa. Retrieved from ndp-2030-our-future-make-it-workr.pdf The Office of the Deputy President. (1997). White Paper on an Integrated National Disability Strategy (INDS). Retrieved from Thompson, N. (2006). Anti-discriminatory practice (4th ed.). London: Palgrave Macmillan. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) & National Department of Social Development (DSD). (2015). Elements of the financial and economic costs of disability to households in South Africa: A pilot study. Retrieved from FinEconCostdisabilitySAhouseholds.pdf United Nations (UN). (2020). The sustainable development goals 2020. New York: United Nations. Wilson, M. (2002). Alexandra Township and The Alexsan Kopano Resource Centre; background report.. Retrieved from World Health Organisation (WHO) (1978). Declaration of Alma-Ata.. Retrieved from https:// World Health Organisation (WHO). (2002). International classification of functioning, disability and health. Retrieved from World Health Organisation (WHO). (2006). United Nations UN convention on disabilities 2006.. Retrieved from crpd_english.pdf World Health Organisation (WHO). (2010). CBR Guidelines introductory booklet. Retrieved from pdf;jsessionid=673BD3F001917124D50C65B501430EB5?sequence=9 World Health Organisation (WHO). (2011). The World Report on Disability. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.

Chapter 9

Promoting Family and Human Relationships in a Traumatised Society Francine Julia Masson

9.1  Introduction The establishment and maintenance of healthy, well-functioning families promotes the development of rigorous communities and society. If children have the opportunities from birth to form meaningful and loving relationships through a family system, these relationships will increase the likelihood that they become responsible parents and law-abiding adults themselves (DeFrain & Asay, 2007; Hesselink & Dastile, 2016). However, the structure of families is constantly altering as society adapts to ever-increasing changing demands. De Frain and Asay (2007) explain that even though theorists have tried to come up with a singular definition and theory to explain the family in the twenty-first century, no one theory can explain the uniqueness of families around the world. Due to dramatic changes in marriage and family structures, gender divisions of labour and globalisation, the challenges confronting young adults today are very different from those encountered by their parents or grandparents (Luxton, 2011). As families in the twenty-first century encounter numerous challenges and have to adapt in order develop and survive, one has to consider how families from disadvantaged populations, or from societies with a traumatic past, may additionally struggle to overcome adversity and adapt to changes. South Africa’s past is dominated by a legacy of trauma and violence as colonialism and apartheid established inhumane and unjust policies, based on the philosophy of racial segregation. Despite the advent of democracy in 1994 when political freedom was attained, the socio-economic realities of the country today are still reflective of South Africa’s discriminatory past. Consequences of the country’s unjust and discriminatory past are still evident in the high levels of poverty, HIV and AIDS, crime, gender-based violence and substance abuse. Instead of families being F. J. Masson (*) Department of Social Work, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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places of support to nurture and protect children and family members, incidences of child abuse and gender-based violence are increasing, and the scourge of violence in families needs to be addressed. Thus, interventions aimed at family strengthening need to take into account the contributing factors that have resulted in the current socio-economic realities of the country and how families have consequently been adversely affected. The African family structure has deliberately been undermined through colonialism and the centuries of white dominance. Furthermore, the apartheid system was, as Bulender and Lund (2011, p. 926) explain, a ‘state-orchestrated destruction of family life’. This subjugation of the African family structure has had far-reaching consequences and therefore requires appropriate interventions from all sectors in society in order to promote and strengthen family functioning. The South African government has had the insurmountable task of dismantling apartheid and has through the implementation of many policies and laws attempted to strengthen the family and promote sustainable and healthy communities. This chapter will firstly discuss the concept of ‘family’ and how theoretical understandings of families have changed through time. The realities of the history of South Africa will be explored, and the subsequent effect of discriminatory racial policies on the African family structure will be unpacked. Policies and procedures which have been implemented by the post-apartheid government and are aimed at strengthening family and human relationships will be discussed. Finally, the chapter will conclude with recommendations to strengthen families living in a traumatised society.

9.2  Defining the Concept of ‘Family’ and Family Well-Being The concept of family has had different meanings and understandings depending on the period of time and context in which it is being viewed. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises that the concept of family may differ from one country to another and that it is therefore not possible to determine one standard definition to explain the word ‘family’ (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2016). The traditional Western understanding of families has promoted independence and individualisation and was characterised by the nuclear family with a strong emphasis on the institution of marriage. The ‘ideal family’ in the Western world occurred when a heterosexual couple fell in love, got married and had children. Men were considered to be the head of the home and were the income earners, whereas women’s primary role was that of caring for their families (Luxton, 2011). This understanding of family reinforced a woman’s subordinate role in society as she was dependent on her husband financially. If a woman was involved in paid work activities, her work responsibilities were second to her primary role as the caregiver in the family. The advent of the feminist movement challenged women’s roles in families, the gender division of labour and society at large. Women’s increasing entry into the formal labour market promoted independence and provided opportunities for women’s economic and emotional empowerment. These changes in the role and status of women significantly influenced the way that

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heterosexual couples related to each other within the family system as traditional family roles and structures were challenged. In a patriarchal society like South Africa, the empowerment of women is often understood to be contrary to cultural beliefs and practices as men’s superior position in the family and society is challenged (Masson, 2019). In contrast to Western understanding of the family, the traditional African family includes the extended family system, where family members who live in one household are connected through marriage or kinship. This definition allows for the incorporation of many different family or kin members into a household. The African family structure today has in many ways changed from the traditional African family as the availability of resources appears to be a significant determining factor that influences the way that household structures are developed. Parents often have to leave children in the care of family members as they seek work in other towns or cities in order to provide for their families. The concept of ‘family’ is defined in the White Paper on Families in South Africa (Department of Social Development, 2013, p. 11) as ‘a societal group that is related by blood (kinship), adoption, foster care or the ties of marriage (civil, customary or religious), civil union or cohabitation, and go beyond a particular physical residence’. This definition took into account the different family formations that were identified in the Green Paper on Families (Department of Social Development, 2011, p. 28), which included: • ‘Three generation – grandparent with parent(s) and child(ren) • Nuclear – two parents and at least one child • Skip-generation  – grandparent with grandchild(ren) but no child(ren) of his/her own • Single unmarried parent with at least one child • Single married parent (absent spouse) with at least one child • Elderly only – one or multiple • Single adult – which is composed of only one member, who is an adult • Child-headed – all members of the family are children, i.e. below 18 years of age • Married couple – husband and wife • One adult with adopted children • Siblings only – adults and children (all family members are siblings, including individuals below the age of 18) • Other – such as the extended family, which is multigenerational in character and includes family members who are bound either by blood or legal relations. They may cohabit or may not share the same household. This category also includes the cohabitation type of family that comprises two adults staying together without any contractual agreements and with or without children’. In addition, polygamous marriages which  are accepted within certain South African cultures are acknowledged, and emerging family structures in South Africa including same-sex families as well as migrant and refugee families are recognised (Department of Social Development, 2011). Internationally, there has been a steady increase in the number of migrants, displaced people and refugees who now reside


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in South Africa. In 2016, there were more than 3.4 million migrants in South Africa, which included orphaned and unaccompanied children younger than seven (Schenk & Treigaardt, 2018). Individuals and families who have migrated are particularly vulnerable as they often left their countries as a result of war and/or traumatic experiences. In addition, they may fear being deported and live in fear of xenophobic attacks which are a common occurrence in South Africa. Despite progressive government policies and legislation  where  different types of family structures  are acknowledged, families which do not fall within the more traditional family structures still experience many barriers, obstacles, discrimination and prejudice (Perry & Whitehead, 2016). As a result of its discriminatory past, embedded in the fabric of South African society is an intolerance for the ‘other’, that is, people from a different culture, race, ethnicity or sexual identity. In particular, violence and discrimination against black lesbians and transgender men is still prevalent in South African society. The concept of ‘corrective rape’, where a man rapes a lesbian woman in an attempt to correct or change her sexual orientation, is a current South African reality. Morison, Roberts, Gordon, Struwig and Reddy (2019) found that South Africans are less accepting of gay marriages and interracial marriages than many other countries with liberal democracies.

9.3  Functions of a Family Numerous theorists place different emphasis on the various functions of a family system. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights acknowledges different roles that a family fulfils for a child; these include creating an environment for growth of the child, providing support and protection as well as ensuring the socialisation of children (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2016). Predominant functions of a family should include: • Nurturance and care  – the basic needs of family members are cared for, and aspects of health and wellness are addressed within a structured system. Families aslo provide a nurturing environment where children can emotionally mature and receive comfort and reassurance when needed and helping the child to develop confidence and self-esteem (Benzies & Mychasiuk, 2009). • Socialisation of children – children learn and assimilate cultural values, understandings and behaviours (DeFrain & Asay, 2007). In this socialisation process, children also become aware of moral conduct, acceptable behaviour in society and how to deal with conflict and consider the needs of others. Gender socialisation is also learnt as children observe the roles and power dynamics within their own family systems. From an economic perspective – families are seen as single economic units as parents or guardians earn money or provide for the shelter, food and needs of the family unit. The family consumes goods and services and contributes to society economically (Kendall, 2008).

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Although these are ideal functions of a family, the reality is that many families do not provide supportive nurturing structures for children and instead children often have to assume the roles of adults and care for others in the family. Furthermore, dysfunctional families where abuse, conflict and neglect occur do not create the necessary stability and nurturance needed for a child to learn to cope with life challenges and develop into resilient, nurturing and independent adults. The familial breakdown apparent in dysfunctional families becomes circular in nature as children who grow up in dysfunctional families are likely to perpetuate the cycle and create dysfunctional families themselves (Hesselink & Dastile, 2016; Holborn & Eddy, 2011). Children who have not experienced secure attachments in childhood often struggle to develop  and maintain healthy relationships in adulthood and inturn provide nurturing and structured environments for their own children.

9.4  S  ocial Africa’s Traumatic Past and the Impact on the Family A history of conflict, dominance, discrimination and inequality dominates the South African narrative. Dutch, Portuguese and British imperialist and colonialist policies and practices resulted in the domination and subjugation of the indigenous South African people. Although the ideology of racial superiority was formally entrenched through the apartheid system, which was implemented by the Afrikaans National Party (NP) in 1948, segregationist policies and racial discrimination characterised the history of South Africa after the Dutch arrived in the Cape in April 1652 (Meredith, 2005; Noyoo, 2018; Patel, 2015). During colonialism, the Western understanding of family was imposed on African culture, advocating that the model family comprised of the nuclear family (Noyoo, 2019). Prior to the formalisation of apartheid, the African family structure was particularly affected by the effects of industrialisation and the exploitative migrant labour system which separated families and destroyed the traditional family structure. The discovery of mineral wealth in South Africa, diamonds in Kimberly in 1867 and gold in the Witwatersrand in 1867 resulted in the ushering in of industrial processes into a previously agrarian society. Sooryamoorthy and Makhoba (2016) explain how these changes to a new process of commodity production required families to adapt and change their structure from an extended family to a more nuclear one. Rapid urbanisation resulted in many African men leaving rural areas to find work in urban areas. Traditionally, African men have a significant role in the family as the head of the family, and they are expected to conduct and partake in many cultural practices and rituals. Women had a central role in containing and caring for the family and supporting their husbands. The migrant labour system gave African men contracts to work in poorly paid labour positions in the urban areas. As these men had to leave wives, children and family behind in the rural areas, this significantly contributed to the destruction of the African family system. Men had little


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opportunity to spend time with their children as they were often only home for one month of the year. As a result, migrant workers often formed second families in the urban areas, leaving wives in the rural areas with the responsibilities of caring for the young and the elderly (Bulender & Lund, 2011). Various Acts were passed by the South African government to ensure the dominance and development of whites at the expense of black South Africans. For example, the 1913 Natives Land Act No. 27 of 1913 prohibited black people from acquiring or owning land in certain areas, resulting in only 7.5% of the land in South Africa belonging to black people. Also, the Native Urban Areas Act No. 21 of 1923 required African men to carry passes and limit their movement in designated white areas. In order to reduce the rights of black workers in the workplaces, black workers were not allowed to join trade unions. Through laws such as the Civil Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924 (Act No. 11), the white workers’ position in the workplace was protected, and black workers were employed at low wage levels in order to promote white workers’ standards of living (Noyoo, 2018; Patel, 2015). These discriminatory policies were justified through explanations that it was in the best interests of the African family if the women and children remained in rural areas, where their needs could be met through cultural and kinship relationships and not require any intervention or interference from the government. As Bozalek (1999) explains, this particular discourse was developed in order to justify racist policies, which were aimed at weakening the African family structure and support systems. Additional discriminatory laws included the Immorality Act No. 5 of 1927 which prohibited whites from engaging in sexual relations with any other racial group. In order to ensure the ‘advancement’ of white children, the Bantu Education Act No. 47 of 1953 introduced inferior educational curricula to black children than those offered to white children (Meredith, 2005). Different residential and business areas were allocated to various race groups through the Group Areas Act of 1950 (Act No. 41). This Act and the various pieces of legislation that followed, such as the Separate Amenities of 1953 (Act No. 49), were introduced to enforce mechanisms of influx control to limit and control the urbanisation of black South Africans (Clark, Collinson, Kahn, Drullinger, & Tollman, 2007). There is no doubt that the colonial and apartheid policies impacted the structure, development and institution of families in South Africa, and according to Hall and Posel (2019), the disruption of family life, through apartheid and colonialism, is one of the most important legacies of South Africa’s past that needs to be addressed.

9.5  T  he Current Realities of South African Families and Society The Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town published a report in 2018 that found that only 25% of South African children are part of a nuclear family. The report found that 62% of children are living in extended family situations, as most

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children do not live with both biological parents in the same household. Another finding in the report was that increasingly, children are residing with their grandparents and other relatives and not their biological parents. One of the predominant reasons identified for parental absence included the death of a parent; maternal orphaning rates were not as high as paternal orphaning rates. Of the nearly five million children who did not live with their mothers, 78% of these mothers were living elsewhere, and only 22% were maternally orphaned. In comparison, of the 12 million children who lived in a household without their biological father, 18% were paternally orphaned and almost ten million children have a father who resides somewhere else (Hall & Richter, 2018). The increasing number of absent fathers in South Africa results in many children growing up without a male role model in their lives, an important aspect for child development (Holborn & Eddy, 2011). The concept of ‘ATM fathers’ has become an increasing norm and refers to fathers who are predominantly involved in providing financially for their children but who have limited or no physical contact with their children (Mavungu, Thomson-de Boor, & Mphaka, 2013). In adversarial divorce situations, fathers sometimes struggle to gain and/or obtain visitation rights to their children. Associations such as Fathers4Justice, which is a civil rights group that campaigns for justice and equality in Family Law, specifically challenges prejudice against fathers, so that fathers can have a loving relationship with their children (Fathers4Justice, 2020). Children and families in South Africa have profoundly been affected by particularly the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The relationship between HIV and AIDS has been clearly researched and explored (Patel, 2015; Taylor, 2018). A persistent challenge for the South African family system is the number of orphaned children, particularly as a result of HIV and AIDS. In 2018, more than 7.7 million people were living with HIV in South Africa, and it was estimated that 260,000 children below the age of 14 were living with HIV, of which 63% were on antiretroviral therapy (Avert, 2020). The number of child-headed households has increased in the last few decades, and in 2014 it was estimated that more than 150,000 children lived in child-headed households. One of the most concerning outcomes of children who are orphaned is how adversely their schooling and educational opportunities are affected. Without appropriate adult guidance and supervision, these children struggle to meet their basic needs and have to fulfil roles meant for adults. Consequently, schooling and academic performance is often adversely affected (Sooryamoorthy & Makhoba, 2016). As children are unable to protect themselves, they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and victimisation (Hesselink & Dastile, 2016; Taylor, 2018). Teenage pregnancy is another social concern in South Africa. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) recorded that the number of teenagers who  gave birth in 2017 almost reached 100000. More than 3000 babies were born to children between the ages of 10 and 14 (Mlambo, 2018). More than 25 years after the formal abolishment of the apartheid government, the socio-economic ramifications of apartheid are still highly prevalent in South African society. Social problems which include extreme poverty, high unemployment rates, housing shortages, inadequate infrastructure schooling and healthcare systems are still characteristic of South African society. In 2011, South Africa’s


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National Development Plan: Vision for 2030 estimated that at least 39% of the population was living in abject poverty (National Planning Commission, 2011). In 2019, South Africa’s unemployment rate was recorded at 29.1%, as declines in unemployment were recorded in sectors such as trade, manufacturing and utilities due to electricity outages experienced in the country (Trading Economics, 2020). Furthermore, youth unemployment is a national concern, as the unemployment rate of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 was recorded at 55.2% in 2019. Unemployment rates of youth without tertiary education are still higher than graduate employment rates, which indicates that education promotes increased opportunities of finding employment and entering the South African labour market (StatsSA, 2019). Nelson Mandela, who recognised the importance and power of education in bringing equal opportunity to all, referred to education as a great engine of personal development that is required to contribute to the economic success of a country as well as nation-building and reconciliation (Mandela, 1994).

9.6  P  olicies and Programmes Implemented by the South African Government to Strengthen Families One of the biggest challenges that confronted the newly elected democratic South African government in 1994 was how to build a just and equitable society for all South African citizens, taking into account the levels of inequality and socio-­ economic problems in the country. The Constitution of South Africa that was adopted in 1996 recognised a multiparty democracy, freedom of the press and judicial sectors as well as a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights ensured citizens of political, economic, social, cultural and language rights, as well as the right to social security and children’s rights (Noyoo, 2019; Patel, 2015). The South African government’s response to strengthening families has been multifaceted, as the government has introduced numerous policies, procedures and measures to promote stability and economic growth. These policies are aimed at redressing the past injustices and at enhancing the socio-economic progress and development of all sectors of society, especially families and communities. South Africa’s conceptualisation and development of the developmental social welfare approach ignited significant changes in the lives of many South African families as social support and assistance were made available. The White Paper for Social Welfare (1997) was a collaborative document developed by various stakeholders that included departments of welfare on a national and provincial level and welfare organisations (Mbedzi, 2015) and which adopted a social development paradigm. Underpinning this approach to social welfare was the acknowledgement and adoption of a rights-based approach, where the right to human dignity, worth and humanity of all citizens are respected and upheld (Patel, 2015). Patel and Selipsky (2010) highlight that the focus of the rights-based approach is on assisting the disadvantaged in society to obtain a minimum standard of living, through equitable and

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fair access and opportunities to services and benefits. In adopting a rights-based approach, the services of government and welfare organisations need to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected and that citizens are educated and made aware of their rights and have appropriate access to services. Furthermore, policies and services that do not uphold and protect human rights need to be challenged and altered accordingly (Mbedzi, 2015). Patel (2015) cites the work of Marshall (1963) who identifies social rights as an essential aspect in the development of individuals, as these rights create opportunities for individuals to develop their potential and achieve significant levels of social status and development. Hence, the social development approach advocates for the promotion of both social and economic development. Economic and social development should not be understood to operate in isolation instead the connection and influence of development in both areas needs to be understood and reinforced through policy development, specifically macro-­ economic policies which promote employment and ensure the development of the social security and protection of its citizens. Principles of democracy and participation uphold the social development paradigm, as citizens and communities are encouraged and given opportunities to contribute and reinforce their own development. Another theme embedded in the social development paradigm is the promotion of partnerships where government, civil society, business and all sectors of society work to promote the development of citizens and society through collaborative initiatives and programmes. Tax subsidies and exemptions are an example of government strategies to promote public-private partnerships. In addition, the social development approach endeavours to reduce the polarisation of micro and macro services offered to citizens and communities. Instead this approach advocates for the inclusion of all micro, meso and macro interventions in the quest to develop a more equal and human society (Noyoo, 2018; Patel, 2015). In order to improve the standard of living of most of South African citizens and their families, the government introduced the ‘social wage’ which provided many basic and social development services to citizens. Seekings and Nattrass (2015) advocate that the government should provide services such as education, health care and housing and essential services including water and electricity to the poor as they are generally unable to access such services. These authors view the provision of these services as a basic human right for citizens, an essential component necessary to contribute to the economic growth of the country. Social wage provisions have included free primary health care for children, social grants, RDP housing, sanitation, solid waste management and free basic services such as access to water (Mbedzi, 2015). Despite the annual increase in budget allocation for these services, the rollout of these services has been marked with numerous difficulties due to insufficient funding, limited resources, lack of infrastructure and corruption. Community protests are daily occurrences in South Africa, as citizens advocate for improved access to services and quality service delivery. These protests highlight the daily reality of many South Africans and are reflections that social policy and policy implementation often do not necessarily ensure actual and effective delivery to every citizen and community. The provision of social assistance has been an essential factor in the


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government’s strategy to protect the most vulnerable in society. Social assistance aims to provide financial assistance to the caregivers of children at risk, adults who are physically or mentally disabled and the elderly. These grants include the Child Support Grant, the Foster Child Grant, the Care Dependency Grant, the Disability Grant and the Older Person’s Grant. In 2018, more than 12 million children in South African received the Child Support Grant (Patel, Hochfeld, Ross, Chiba, & Luck, 2019). The increased access to services and social grants has helped to change the lives of many children and families. Hochfeld and Plagerson (2011) advocate how social assistance has helped to relieve poor people of some desperation and helped families to be able to put food on the table. While these grants have helped to provide some relief for the recipients, they do not eradicate poverty in the country. The provisions of the social wage aim to enhance and promote the socio-economic situations of individuals and households. In addition to the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997) and the White Paper on Families in South Africa (2013), numerous other policies and programmes have been included in the South African national framework to provide comprehensive guidelines, services and programmes for families. Included in these policies are the National Development Plan 2030: Our Future  – Making It Work (2011); the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy (2015); and the draft policy of the Child Care and Protection Policy (2018). The South African National Strategic Plan 2017–2022 proposes a renewed focus on children and building resilient families, with particular emphasis on eliminating new HIV infections. These examples of policy initiatives developed by government aim to enhance the caring, nurturing and support capabilities of families in order to strengthen family functioning (Noyoo, 2018), which in turn will contribute to the development of strong and vigorous communities.

9.7  Strengthening Families in Traumatised Societies In order to strengthen families in a society and to help assist families from traumatised communities, social policy needs to identify and assist families at risk and to enhance protective factors. Proactive and preventative measures need to be firmly established so that families at risk and vulnerable populations can be assisted and equipped to enhance family functioning. Fostering family resilience from adopting an ecological perspective, Benzies and Mychasiuk (2009, p. 105) identify numerous protective factors necessary to promote family resilience; these include intimate partner relationship stability, family cohesion, supportive parent-child interaction, stimulating environments, family structure and family of origin influences, social support, stable and adequate income and adequate housing. Appropriate macro-­ economic policies are essential in addressing the poverty and economic challenges of the majority of South African families in order to address the structural problems of the country. Social assistance and public policy that are aimed at assisting and empowering families at risk have a critical and fundamental role in helping families

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to address their most basic needs. A family’s economic circumstances are a central aspect to be considered when addressing family functioning. Botha, Booysen and Wouters (2018) point out how economic influences are essential to the provision of family support. Drawing on ecological theory, these authors highlight how individual perceptions of family functioning are influenced by the socio-economic context of the family. A framework that is particularly useful in this regard is the Family Stress Model, where family stress is understood to be a process, and particular emphasis is placed on economic stress and family functioning. This model emphasises how child and adolescent maladjustment is exacerbated by the economic difficulties that a family encounters which, as Masarik and Conger (2017, p. 85) explain, ‘result in parental distress, inter-parental relationship difficulties and disrupted parenting’. In a pluralistic society like South Africa, it is important that policy makers take into account cultural differences and norms and develop programmes accordingly. The Green Paper on Families (Department of Social Development, 2011, p. 46) identifies aspects of public policy which need to be considered to enhance the family perspective; these include the acknowledgement and sensitivity to constant changing family patterns, increased awareness and understanding of the different roles and function of families, and effective monitoring and evaluation measures to determine how families are impacted by these policies. The success of families is too often measured by how much families conform to the ideals of society. The flexibility of family structures should be valued, and instead the effectiveness of providing emotional stability and support should be considered (Luxton, 2011). Encouraging a culture of diversity and acceptance of family structures that are different from traditional ideologies of the family needs to be assimilated in all aspects of society. Promoting values of diversity and acceptance of others who are different to oneself are attitudes that should be inculcated through all sectors of society, namely, families, schools, community and religious organisations. As families are influenced by the environments in which they operate, promoting protective factors in communities will help to enhance and develop family resilience. According to Benzies and Mychasuik (2009, p.  108–109), in order to enhance community resilience, protective factors in a community need to be addressed. These protective factors include the involvement of the community so that social networks and resources are increased, peer acceptance which is developed and encouraged at foundational school level, supportive mentors, safe neighbourhoods, access to quality early childhood development centres and foundational schooling as well as access to quality health-care services. The African principle of Ubuntu becomes crucial when addressing trauma in society. Incorporating the principle of Ubuntu requires all sectors of society, community and cultural leaders, religious institutions, government and private, health, education and social development to contribute to the promotion of a moral and just society through strengthening existing family structures and systems. Furthermore, taking into account a systems perceptive of a family, the interdependence of systems requires a response from all sectors of society and should not be the responsibility of the government alone. All sectors of society should be included and involved in creating a safer and healthier society in order to enhance the moral fabric of South African society. The increased availability and accessibility of family services and family


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education need to be foregrounded as essential components in a family strengthening programme. Family programmes may include family planning, couples’ counselling and family therapy and parenting workshops. Kumfer, Alvardo, Smith and Bellamy (2002) believe that teaching parents how to effectively communicate with their children is an essential aspect upon which family strengthening programmes should be based. Skills such as effective praise, supervision and discipline should be included as well as knowledge about establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries with a child (Kumfer et al., 2002). In particular, families where substances are abused often struggle to establish healthy boundaries as the family interaction often centres around the family member with the substance abuse problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a global status report on alcohol and health found that South Africa had one of the highest rates of substance abuse in the world (Chelwa & Van Walbeck, 2019). As substance abuse is considered a family disease, interventions should include all members of a family and not just the family member with a substance abuse problem. DeFrain and Asay (2007) conducted research in numerous countries and assessed family functioning from a strength-based perspective. They identified six common traits that people around the world listed when they were asked what aspects were necessary to make a strong family. These factors included appreciation and affection, commitment, positive communication, enjoyable time together, spiritual well-being and the ability to manage stress and crises appropriately. Parent and family education programmes should be developed that are culture specific which promote healthy parenting practices, promote effective communication and inform parents about appropriate boundary setting and discipline procedures. Research has found that when parents or guardians attend parent education programmes, they are more sufficiently equipped to provide a structured and caring environment for the development of a child (Counts, Buffington, Chang-Rios, Rasmussen, & Preacher, 2010). In the Western Cape, more than 1076 families participated in a family strengthening programme, which was designed to include the involvement of both parents and children. The importance of familial relationships was emphasised in an  eight  week course, during which topics about love, effective discipline, peer pressure and family communication were focused upon. Evaluations of the programme revealed that notable improvements were recorded in the behaviour of parents and children who had attended the programme, suggesting that programmes of this nature should be made available to more families throughout South Africa (Cassiem, 2018).

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9.8  T  he Social Worker’s Essential Contribution to Strengthening Families and Building Healthy Human Relationships Social workers should be at the forefront in conducting research about the current status of the family, specifically assessing how South Africa’s traumatic past has shaped and influenced family functioning and community development. Programmes aimed at promoting family development and healthy human relationships should be based on appropriate scientific research, so that the realities and challenges of South African families are identified and constantly monitored. Existing programmes should be assessed, successes replicated and programmes strengthened where required in order to improve their overall effectiveness. Social workers are employed in various sectors in society; the majority of social workers are employed in various government departments, such as social development, correctional services and education, or in non-governmental organisations, or they work in private practice. Each sector has a vital contribution to make in creating opportunities where vulnerable children and families can be assisted and family resilience enhanced. As advocates for a more equitable and humane society, social workers should be involved in promoting change at all levels of society. On a macro level, social workers should be involved in forming and influencing policy on matters relating to the family, especially programmes that are culture specific. Social workers are often the implementers of social policy as they protect children, intervene in child abuse cases and assist with the applications for social assistance, for child assistance, disability or the elderly (Patel, 2015). Principles of self-determination, individualisation, respect and social justice should underpin all intervention strategies. In the development and implementation of programmes for families, social workers work alongside lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, policy analysists and other social service practitioners, which include social auxiliary workers, childcare workers, youth workers and community development practitioners (Department of Social Development, 2011). Social workers have an important contribution to make in these multidisciplinary teams as they are trained to assess client, family and community functioning and interactions from a psychosocial perspective. Again, such interventions are key at cementing healthy human relationships. Drawing from a systems perspective, social workers have an important role to fulfil as they provide psychosocial and emotional support to children and families through micro, meso and macro level interventions. A continuum of support services should be provided to families by social workers, particularly focusing on family strengthening initiatives and trauma intervention programmes. Considering the amount of trauma that many families or individuals may have experienced before they are able to access the services of a social worker or mental health practitioner, social workers need to incorporate a trauma lens when they are assessing and assisting families. Child and family assessment should incorporate an indigenous framework, as cultural beliefs, symbolism and practices need to be acknowledged and appreciated (Kaminer & Eagle, 2010). Play therapy and family therapy


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interventions, which are predominantly developed from a Western perspective, need to be modified accordingly. Traumatic experiences can affect all family members not only the direct victim, which can result in damaging family relationships. Mcllwaine and O’Suillivan (2015) note how important it is that families have opportunities to acknowledge and talk through a traumatic experience as these families are able to recover quicker as they can support each other through the trauma. In particular, educating parents about how children experience and behave in response to trauma is essential, so that parents can attune and respond to their children in supportive and appropriate manners. Traumatised children display different traumatic symptoms depending on their developmental stages (Kaminer & Eagle, 2010), and appropriate parental responses can help the child to recover and move beyond a traumatic experience. Therefore, work that focuses on trauma and reducing its after-effects in communities will go a long way in promoting healthy human relationships in South Africa. Lastly, social workers need to be aware of how they themselves are vulnerable to secondary traumatic stress, due to their work with traumatised people. Organisational and professional intervention strategies need to be established to ameliorate stress and burnout levels of the social workers. Social workers themselves need to be self-­ aware and acknowledge their ethical obligations to attend to their own mental health (Killian, 2008; Masson, 2016) so that they themselves can be healthy functional members of society. In the final analysis, the aforementioned will serve as building blocks for the promotion of healthy human relationships.

9.9  Conclusion In a country like South Africa where trauma and violence are ubiquitous, appropriate preventative and intervention strategies need to be developed and implemented. The uniqueness of the South African context is clearly apparent as the country has numerous challenges and obstacles to overcome as a result of its traumatic past. The South African government has introduced many policies and proactive measures to strengthen family functioning. However, in order to further reduce risk and promote resilience in families, all sectors of society need to be involved and fulfil their part in the quest to make South Africa a better place for all who live in it. In the long run, such efforts will help to promote healthy human relationships in the country. To this end, this chapter endeavoured to discuss the role of the family unit in developing healthy human relationships in a traumatised society such as South Africa.

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Benzies, K., & Mychasiuk, R. (2009). Fostering family resiliency: A review of the key protective factors. Child & Family Social Work, 14(1), 103–114. Botha, F., Booysen, F., & Wouters, E. (2018). Family functioning and socioeconomic status in south African families: A test of the social causation hypothesis. Social Indicators Research, 137(2), 789–811. Bozalek, V. (1999). Contextualizing caring in black South African families. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 6(1), 85–99. Bulender, D., & Lund, F. (2011). South Africa: A legacy of family disruption. Development and Change, 42(4), 925–946. Cassiem, A. (2018). Five years of strengthening families. Retrieved from https://www.news24. com/SouthAfrica/local/peoples-post/fuive-years-of-strengthening-families-20180924. Chelwa, G., & Van Walbeck, C. (2019). SA ranks sixth globally as a nation of drinkers. Retrieved from Clark, S. J., Collinson, M. A., Kahn, K., Drullinger, K., & Tollman, S. M. (2007). Returning home to die: Circular labour migration and mortality in South Africa. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 35(69), 35–44. Counts, J., Buffington, E., Chang-Rios, K., Rasmussen, H., & Preacher, K. (2010). The development and validation of the protective factors survey: A self-report measure of protective factors against child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34, 762–772. DeFrain, J., & Asay, S. M. (2007). Strong families around the world: Strengths-based research and perspectives. Marriage & Family Review, 41(1–2), 1–10. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2011). Green paper on families: Promoting family life and strengthening families in South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printers. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2013). White paper on families in South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printers. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2018). Draft Child Care and Protection Policy. Pretoria: Government Printer. Department of Welfare (1997). White Paper for Social Welfare (Governemnt Gazette Notice of 1108 of 1997). Pretoria, South Africa: Ministry for Welfare and Population Development. Fathers4Justice. (2020). Custody children divorce court orders maintenance father support domestic violence contact access abuse. Fathers-4-Justice South Africa. Retrieved from https://www. Hall, K., & Posel, D. (2019). Fragmenting the family? The complexity of household migration strategies in post-apartheid South Africa. IZA Journal of Development and Migration, 10(2), 22–48. Hall, K., & Richter, L. (2018). Children, families and the state. In K. Hall, L. Richter, Z. Mokomane, & L. Lake (Eds.), South African child gauge 2018: Children, families and the state: collaboration and contestation. Cape Town, South Africa: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. Hesselink, A. E., & Dastile, N. P. (2016). Children in the family. In R. Songca, O. S. Sibanda, V.  Basedeo, W.  F. M.  Luft, S.  A. Hesselink, N.  P. Datile, J.  M. Matetoa, M.  S. Mooki, & M. G. Karels (Eds.), Vulnerable children in South Africa: Legal, social development and criminology aspects (pp. 1–12). Juta, Hungary: Claremont. Hochfeld, T., & Plagerson, S. (2011). Dignity and stigma among South African female cash transfer recipients. IDS Bulletin, 42. Holborn, L., & Eddy, G. (2011). First steps to healing the South African family. Johannesburg, South Africa: South African Institute of Race Relations. Kaminer, D., & Eagle, G. (2010). Traumatic stress in South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa: Wits University Press. Kendall, D. E. (2008). Sociology in our times: The essentials. Boston: Cengage Learning. Killian, K. D. (2008). Helping till it hurts? A multimethod study of compassion fatigue, burnout and self-care in clinicians working with trauma survivors. Traumatology, 14(2), 32–44.


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Kumfer, K.  L., Alvarado, R., Smith, & Bellamy, B. (2002). Cultural sensity and adaptation in family-based prevention interventions. Prevention Science, 3(3), 241–246. Luxton, M. (2011). Changing families, new understandings. Retrieved from https://vanierinstitute. ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CFT_2011-06-00_EN.pdf Mandela, N. (1994). Long walk to freedom. London: Macmillan Publishers. Masarik, A.  S., & Conger, R.  D. (2017). Stress and child development: A review of the family stress model. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 85–90. copsyc.2016.05.008 Masson, F. (2019). Women empowerment in a patriarchal society: Implications for family relationships in South Africa. In R. Friso, S. Triechel, & R. Lutz (Eds.), Social work of the south (Family and gender in transition) (Vol. 7, pp. 209–226). Oldenburg, Germany: Paulo Friere Verlag. Masson, F. J. (2016). Secondary Traumatic Stress: A case study of social workers employed at the South African Police Services. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Mavungu, E., Thomson-de Boor, H., & Mphaka, K. (2013). “So we are ATM fathers”: A study of absent fathers in Johannesburg, South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa: Centre for Social Development in Africa and Sonke Gender Justice. Mbedzi, P. (2015). The history of social work and social welfare. In R.  Schenk, P.  Mbedzi, L. Qalinge, P. Schultz, J. Sekudu, & M. Sesoko (Eds.), Introduction to social work (pp. 43–60). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. McIlwaine, F., & O’Sullivan, K. (2015). ‘Riding the wave’: Working systemically with traumatised families. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 36(3), 310–324. https:// Meredith, M. (2005). The state of Africa: A history of fifty years of Independence. Johannesburg, South Africa: Jonathan Ball Publishers. Mlambo, S. (2018). 97 143 teenage mothers gave birth last year, says Stats SA. Retrieved from Morison, T., Roberts, B., Gordon, S., Struwig, J., & Reddy, V. (2019). South African Public Opinion on Family rights for lesbians and gay men: Entry points for activism and interventions. In Z. Mokomane, B. Roberts, J. Struwig, & S. Gordon (Eds.), South African Social Attitudes: Family Matters, family cohesion, values and strengthening to promote wellness. Cape Town, South Africa: Human Sciences Research Council. National Planning Commission (NPC). (2011). The National Development Plan: Vision for 2030. Pretoria, South Africa: NPC. Noyoo, N. (2018). Social welfare policy as a response to risks and vulnerabilities of families in South Africa. In V. Taylor & J. D. Triegaardt (Eds.), The political economy of social welfare policy in Africa (pp. 147–161). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Noyoo, N. (2019). The evolution of the family in southern Africa. In R.  Friso, S.  Triechel, & R. Lutz (Eds.), Social work of the south (Family and gender in transition) (Vol. 7, pp. 69–86). Oldenburg, Germany: Paulo Friere Verlag. Patel, L. (2015). Social welfare and social development in South Africa (2nd ed.). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Patel, L., Hochfeld, T., Ross, E., Chiba, J., & Luck, K. (2019). Connecting cash with care for better child well-being. Johannesburg, South Africa: Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg. Patel, L., & Selipsky, L. (2010). Social welfare policy and legislation in South Africa. In L.  Nicholas, J.  Rautenbach, & M.  Maistry (Eds.), Introduction to social work (pp.  48–74). Cape Town, South Africa: Juta and Company Ltd.. Perry, S. L., & Whitehead, A. L. (2016). Religion and non-traditional families in the United States. Sociology Compass, 10(5), 391–403. Schenk, R., & Treigaardt, J. (2018). Transformational policies and social justice for migrants, refugees and displaced people. In V. Taylor & J. D. Triegaardt (Eds.), The social welfare policy on

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Africa: Transforming policy through practice (pp. 147–161). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press, South Africa. Seekings, J., & Nattrass, N. (2015). The welfare state, public services and the ‘social wage’. In J. Seekings & N. Nattrass (Eds.), Policy, politics and poverty in South Africa (pp. 162–184). Houndsmill, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Sooryamoorthy, R., & Makhoba, M. (2016). The family in modern South Africa: Insights from recent research. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 47(3), 309–321. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). (2019). Youth graduate unemployment rate increases in Q1: 2019. Retrieved from Taylor, V. (2018). Poverty, inequalities, risk and vulnerability and social welfare policy responses. In V. Taylor & J. D. Triegaardt (Eds.), The political economy of social welfare policy in Africa (pp. 147–161). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press, South Africa. Trading Economics. (2020). South Africa Unemployment Rate | 2000–2019 Data | 2020–2022 Forecast. Retrieved from United Nations Human Rights Council. (2016). Protection of the Rights of the Child in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 15 December 2016, A/ HRC/34/27. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations.

Chapter 10

Fostering Healthy Human Relationships at Community Level in Post-Apartheid South Africa Kefilwe Johanna Ditlhake and Ntandoyenkosi Maphosa

10.1  Introduction and Background Human relationships, at the community level, provide the basis for the social work profession to build purposeful professional relationships to work with individuals, groups, families and communities. Professional engagement in community work and community development interventions recognises the primary importance of human relationships. The notion of relationship building at the community level facilitates the profession’s involvement in community activities designed to address social challenges by partnering and collaborating with other social service professions in the field of social welfare. To this end, healthy relationships for social service practitioners and all role players in communities are an important form of social capital. As Bourdieu (1985, p. 251) points out, social capital as a network of social relations ‘is the product of investment strategies, individual or collective, consciously or unconsciously, aimed at establishment or reproducing social relationships that are directly usable in a short or long term’. Therefore, social capital is a significant resource and can add value to community development efforts and relationship building at the community level. Most reference of social capital in the literature often includes a set of norms, compassion, networks and trust that define social relationships related to reciprocity and collective decision-making (Putnam, 2000; Coleman, 1990; Fukuyama, 1995). Therefore, social capital is created and sustained by relationships between group members of the community. In this regard, fostering relationships requires the profession to build communities based on trust, sense of togetherness, community cohesion and enhancement of wellbeing of all members.

K. J. Ditlhake (*) · N. Maphosa Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg (UJ), Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



K. J. Ditlhake and N. Maphosa

In this chapter, the methods of community work and community development are taken as important vehicles that can help to build healthy and vibrant communities in post-apartheid South Africa. The former are mostly used by social workers in their work with communities. Social work is therefore an important profession that is in the forefront of building communities through the strengthening of healthy human relationships at the community level. Social work as a human service and value-based profession, with its values based on respect, worth and dignity of all the people at the community level, is crucial in promoting healthy human relationships through community work and community development. Thus, community work and community development share the common concern of addressing social problems at the community level. These approaches also share an understanding of human value of diversity, community empowerment and participation as a goal (Nicholas, Rautenbach, & Maistry, 2010; Swanepoel & De Beer, 2011; Weyers, 2011) and socio-economic material needs (Lombard, 2003; Saegert, Thompson, & Warren, 2001). Social issues such as poverty and inequality, unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse are some of the social challenges facing macro practice practitioners and that impose threats on the building of healthy relationships in many communities in South Africa. Although there is a greater appreciation of the importance of relationship building at the community level, social challenges such as racism, violence against women and children, crime and discrimination based on sexual orientation, are some of the major challenges which pose a threat to relationship building at the community level in contemporary South Africa. Community work and community development cannot be value-free, and thus the African value of ubuntu, with its characteristic of humanity and collectivity, has an important role to play in relationship building in community development efforts. Advocating for human rights and social justice serves as a motivation and justification for macro practice and enhancement of healthy relationships at the community level. Relationship building is an important vehicle for change, advocacy, participation and empowerment in pursuit of social justice and human rights in communities. Relationship theories integrate and build on the empirical studies across social sciences, including social work (Pincus & Minahan, 1973; Barker & Thomson, 2014; Turner, 2015), community psychology (Perkins, Florin, Rich, & Chavis, 1990) and sociology (Fiskes, 1992; Tonnies, 1988). In social work, different relationship theories, such as systems theory and the strength-based approach, contribute to the efficacy of social work practice’s various interventions and enhance its ability to work with diverse social contexts (Barker & Thomson, 2014; Turner, 2015). A major change in community life in the twenty-first century has been the rise in relational communities, and the ensuing deterioration in the strong point of geographic communities (Garreau, 1991). Macro social workers consider community as encompassing locality in space (Nicholus, Rautenbach, & Maistry, 2010; Weyers, 2011) and as well as a form of relationships. This chapter takes the perspective of community as encompassing geographically bounded and non-space-based, or virtual community. It takes the idea of relationship as a configuration of feelings and attitude people have for one another and the way these are expressed at the family, group or community levels. Enhanced relationships do not just happen. Emotional

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interaction between people is what is meant by the term relationship – as expressed at the community level. This chapter therefore seeks to demonstrate the significance of healthy human relationships at the community level which can be fostered via macro social work practice and community development efforts. In the next section, the conceptualisation of the chapter’s key terms such as community, social capital, formal and informal associations will be undertaken.

10.2  Defining and Conceptualising Community The term ‘community’ has a wide range of meanings. When used in macro practice social work, it is considered as space or geographic and functional community. Geographic community refers to all people living in geographical area such as townships, villages and towns. The functional community entails relationships that exist among a group of people who share a common interest and concerns. As Weyers (2011, p. 408) states, community is ‘a social system which originates when a population of individuals, localised in a specific geographical area, establishes and utilises structures and relationships to deal with impediments and at the same time develops a sense of communal thinking, identity and activities’. This chapter takes the perspective of community that embraces not only the functional and geographic aspects of community, but it is also extended to encompass virtual communities or non-space-based communities. Virtual community is entirely lacking locality and may include the kind of relationships that exist on Facebook or Whatsapp groups and others in which people are part of that community. For example, extended family relationships, the church, neighbourhood, schools and others create virtual community. A major change in community life over the years and in the twenty-first century has been the rise in relational communities, and the subsequent decline in the strength of geographic communities (Garreau, 1991). Despite the differences in conceptual analysis of the community, what they share in common is the involvement of people and the shared relationship. Therefore, virtual community provides the source for social network and the fundamentals for understanding relationships in communities. As Spretnak (2011) indicated, to understand reality is to understand relationality. Building healthy relationships in working with people requires practitioners to create the spirit of belonging, trust, caring, safety and compassion at the community level. Trust is the ability of people to work together for common goals and it is dependent on the shared level of confidence that develops between others (Fukuyama, 1995). The relations model theory (Fiskes, 1992) postulates that social behaviour is inherently relational in nature and individuals assume meaning only in the context of human relations. Understanding of human relations may contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of relationships within different community settings.


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Therefore, community development practitioners and macro social workers work alongside communities with the aim of empowering them and to identify their underutilised resources, priorities and needs. These practitioners engage communities in identifying other resources that could contribute to the development process. In communities, people engage in community development as unpaid members of a local community group, as paid professional workers like community development practitioners or community development workers and social work macro practice workers. These play roles in community work and community development. Community development, while varied in application, is an approach to community work and community development that is based on the premise that all communities have existing assets and talents. Thus, relationship building that is guided by ethical guidelines contributes to the community development process. Communities can be resourced and facilitated by non-governmental organisations, governmental and private sector institutions, whilst social networks have an important role in linking communities with information aimed at assisting members to reach the outcome of development efforts. In the South African situation, most communities are products of the majority African population. Africans are guided by the value of Ubuntu in their day-to-day engagements. The next section examines this issue in the context of community development and social work macro practice.

10.3  U  buntu and the Value Dimension of Relationship Building in Communities Social work is a value-based profession and its values include the belief that all people have the right to services necessary to self-actualisation and that people have an innate worth and deserve dignity. Also, people have the capacity to overcome problems if they are provided appropriate support and resources, and that the individual person has a unique importance and the right to meet his/her life goals (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried & Larsen, 2002, pp.  57–58). Community well-being is the focus of macro practice work. Community development practitioners need to take into account the multi-faceted nature, uniqueness of people and groups in communities. This consideration includes diverse cultures and indigenous values at the community level. Community work and community development practice within the South African context should embrace indigenous values that speak to respect, caring and acceptance of people at the community level. The South African ethical code of social work practice emphasises the practitioner’s responsibility to adhere to the ethics codes of the profession in providing care to a culturally diverse clientele system in line with the prescripts of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). The degree to which ethical codes take into account multicultural perspectives is the area that needs to be explored beyond what is suggested by the ethics codes. Multiculturalism is a term that indicates a relationship between two or diverse groups and takes into

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consideration the specific values, beliefs, and actions by client ethnicity, gender, religion, socio-economic status, political views, sexual orientation, geographic region and historical experiences of the domain culture (Corey, Corey, & Callana, 2010, p. 114). Adapting macro practice intervention to enhance relationships at the community level is linked to the call for the practitioners to be cognisant with multi-cultural relationships and how they play out in communities. Practitioners also need to be mindful of their personal and professional values and their potential for bias. As Pack-Brown, Thomas, and Seymour (2008) emphasise, the ethical responsibility of the practitioners is to show respect for cultural world views, encompassing values of culturally diverse communities. Walsh (2000, p.49) suggests that in cross-cultural intervention, the practitioner must manifest cultural sensitivity by developing qualities of openness, empathy, respect, acceptance and flexibility when working with people of different race or culture. Ubuntu is an African humanist and ethical world view, and it is a necessary part of what makes us human. In the Tswana (an indigenous South African ethnic group) language, the expression is motho ke motho ka bangwe, which translates into: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ is instructive (Shutte, 1993, p. 46; Louw, 1998). At the heart of ubuntu is respect for diversity and for what it means to be human (Ramose, 1999). Ubuntu recognises difference of experiences of diversity of humanness, collective humanity, as well as relationships at the community level. Identification with the ubuntu worldview and value ethics requires practitioners to know how we should behave towards others and how to become human. The important values underpinning ubuntu include group solidarity, conformity, compassion, respect, human dignity and collective unity (Mbigi & Maree, 1995, p.  2). These values serve as important mechanisms to build networks and norms through participation, collective decision-making, empowerment and acceptance considered to be the main tenets of social capital in community development and social change (Gittel & Vidal, 1998, p.  15). The context of macro social work practice and its focus on planned change calls for the considerations of the issue of values and ethics which permeate practice. Embarking on the process of planned change, the change agent assumes responsibility for the nature and consequences of such change. The change agent is any person or group, professional or non-professional, inside or outside a social system, which is attempting to bring about change in the society (Pincus & Minahan, 1973, p. 54). In any change efforts, the change agent can clarify his/her purpose and relationships with the people with whom he/she will be working with by classifying them as change agent system, client system, target system and action system (Pincus & Minahan, 1973, p.  63). The formation of relationships for the purpose related to the planned change, people-centeredness and serving interest of the community and sensitivity to the frame of reference are the common elements of the professional relationship.


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10.4  Social Capital and Social Relations in Communities Social capital includes norms, networks, mutual trust of organisations, institutions, co-operative actions among citizens (Coleman, 2000, Putnam, 2000). Social capital as the value of social relationships in communities, operates at the meso, micro and macro social levels (Borgatti, Jones, & Everette, 1998). This perspective draws on the notion of social support, sense of community, assets, talents and empowerment (Kretzman & McKnight, 1993; Schenk, Nel, & Louw 2010). A collective nature of the community development process encompassing existing quality of networks, groups, institutions, organisations and relationships underpins the notion of social capital. The benefits that grow from the relationships that exist in communities emerge out of community participation in community development efforts. Participation enhances the sense of community (Hughey, Speer, & Peterson, 1999). The sense of community has been linked to empowerment of communities in community development and community work (Perkins & Long, 2002; Weyers, 2011). Other links include community satisfaction and enhanced local community relationships (Perkins, Florin, Rich, Wandersman, & Chavis, 1990; Sampson, 1991). The growing body of literature suggests that the network of social relations and institutions that exist in communities affects the effectiveness and sustainability of community development process  and efforts (Bourdieu, 1985; Coleman, 1990; Putnam, 2000). The relationship between social capital and community development is an important element of enhancing relationships at the community level. Social capital refers to the way that certain types of social relationships are beneficial to social cohesion and community development and community work. The value of social capital as a mechanism that facilitates community development efforts also finds support in theories of social embeddedness and social exchange (Kretzman & Mc Knight, 1993). These theories present social capital as a resource that exists in the structures of social relations in communities. Such relationships are based on trust, mutuality, sharing and co-operative effort. They generate networks of people prepared to work and act together, in effect, generating solidarity as well as greater trust and mutuality. The link between community development and social capital is important. The forms of social capital include bonding social capital, bridging social capital and linking social capital (Gittel & Vidal, 1998; McKnight & Kretzman, 1993; Schenk, Nel, & Louw, 2010). Collective sharing, respect and social cohesion found in the value of ubuntu demonstrate the value of the link between different forms of social capital. The principles and practices of community development (empowerment, collectivism, participation, and ownership), such as the principles of social justice and human rights, require the practitioners, leadership in communities and community members to work together. When organisations, institutions and associations within and outside the community work collectively, additional opportunities for relationship building are created through community development activities that bring people together. Processes and practices invoked to facilitate the fulfilment of the needs of a community, such as meetings and collective action, involve trust and co-operation.

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10.5  Associations and Relationships in Communities Macro social work is a practice of engaging with and helping individuals and groups to solve problems and make social changes at community, organisational, societal and global levels (Brueggemann, 2014). There are various practice models for macro social work including social planning, social action, social marketing, community education and community development (Weyers, 2011). Given the apartheid historical background and contemporary social issues, the widely used practice model in South Africa is community development. Green and Haines (2002) describe community development as a planned effort to produce assets that increase the capacity of residents to improve the quality of life in a community. These assets can include several forms of community capital, such as physical, human, social, financial and environmental. Like all methods of social work, macro social work is carried out within a network of human relationships which are the core business of social work (Hennessey, 2011). As a social worker in macro work, one has to constantly build and rebuild relationships, as they serve as a promising route towards successful community development. With reference to the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, these relationships, associations and networks are considered assets, as they serve as indispensable tools for development (Kretzman & McKnight, 1993). These assets are described as social capital and are further expanded to include norms, shared understanding, trust and other factors according to Stolle and Rochon (1998). Social capital is further distinguished into two forms by Schenk, Nel, and Louw (2010) namely, bonding capital, which ties and holds a group together to ensure its continuity. Bonding capital is generated through the reciprocal exchanges of individuals or households, while bridging capital is explained as capital that extends asset provision and acquisition through linkages with organisations and behind the community (Cunningham & Mathie, 2002). At the core of ABCD is its focus on social relationships, formal and informal associations, networks as the means to mobilise other assets in the community (Cunningham & Mathie, 2002).

10.6  F  orms of Local Associations and Relationships in Communities The focus of this particular section is on the formal and informal associations that exist in communities and how they enhance connections and relationships among people in these settings. Maclver (1971) defines an association as an organisation of people deliberately formed for the collective pursuit of a common interest of which its members share. These are organisations within the community and membership is predominantly voluntary. McKnight and Kretzman (1993) accentuate that these associations are less formal, much less dependent on paid staff than formal institutions, yet they are the vehicles through which community members assemble to


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solve their problems or to share common interests and activities. Consequentially, social workers in macro work have to continuously explore ways in which these can be used to promote creative outcomes in their encounters with community-related issues. This starts with mapping these associations as resources essential for collective action, thus improving success levels in community work and development efforts. As Cunningham and Mathie (2002) allude, the key to ABCD as a strategy to community-based development is the recognition and harnessing of the power of local associations to drive the development process and to leverage additional support and entitlements. Most communities harbour associations with religious, cultural, recreational, political and economic purposes as well as group rights: community groups, private interests and social or leisure groups (Stolle & Rochon, 1998; McKnight & Kretzman, 1993). Examples of religious associations include churches, choirs, whilst cultural ones may be inclusive of groups that preserve traditional, regional or ethnic culture. Recreational associations might include swimming clubs, whilst political associations include political clubs, political parties and environmental and human rights groups. Economic associations can be inclusive of the following, but not exhaustive: unions, employers’ associations, local stokvels, co-operatives and consumer groups. Community groups are normally made of local action groups, resident associations, service and welfare organisations and parents and teachers associations. Community development practitioners have long recognised the importance of these associations and social relationships in mobilising community residents and in affecting and enhancing success of local community projects (Green & Haines, 2002). The implication for macro social work and community development is that efforts must be made to develop these assets in order to get other resources and forms of community capital such as economic and financial. Formal and informal associations promote collective action, which is an essential feature for community action and development (Green & Haines, 2002). In community work and development initiatives, mobilising community members to participate in change efforts is essential for sustained change in the community. Stolle and Rochon (1998) support this through their declaration that memberships in voluntary associations create interactions between members, thus increasing the chances that trust between members would be developed. In general, people participate in activities where their family or friends are due to connections, relationships and level of trust they have. It is also recognised that people tend to work best with those people and organisations who share the same values and norms and these can significantly speed up the establishment and development of social capital (Kay, 2006). People in associations have common interest which gets them together to act collectively. Thus, there is cohesiveness, mutual trust as the people interact as trustors and trustees building on mutual experience and knowledge (Stolle & Rochon, 1998). This results in increased capacity for collective action, co-operation and trust within the group and thus enabling collective purposes of the group to be achieved easily. Change requires social capital which is generated through relationships of reciprocity (interdependence), trust and cohesiveness. Solidarity and reliance on each other enable the community to work together in addressing communal

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problems. This is where the power of these associations lies as they have the capacity to mobilise people for collective action to participate in the change process (Schenk, Nel, & Louw, 2010). In essence, tapping into both formal and informal associations as assets fosters healthy human and social relationships through engagements by members. Green and Haines (2002) support this and indicate that social relationships can provide both emotional and instrumental support (such as material aids, services, information and new social contacts). It also provides opportunities for community members to be active participants in the development process from planning, implementation and decision-making. Full (not tokenistic) community participation is a principle and key success factor of community development efforts. Development interventions in communities that are rich in social capital (inclusive of relationships and associations) have a greater possibility of sustainability according to Schenk, Nel, and Louw (2010). The participation brought about in these associations means that the community members are an integral part of the development process, hence fostering mutual learning for everyone involved in development efforts. This in turn also leaves community members feeling empowered through skills and capacity building. Furthermore, they are better placed to carry on development efforts without depleting resources even after the development practitioner has left. Verba, Schlozman and Brady (1995) state that associations also open up possibilities of political participation by cultivating among their members the organisation and community skills that are relevant for politics and this can facilitate direct political activity. Involvement in decision-making capacities, such as leadership positions or representations by community members, speaks to empowerment – which is one of the principles of community development. Community members have no real participation until they can partake in political councils or committees with decision-making capacities as asserted by Swanepoel and De Beer (2011). Thus, formal and informal associations serve as engines of community action and a source of power and leadership (Greene, 2000). Putnam (2000) suggests that to channel social capital towards community benefit, bridging social capital links people of different families, ethnicity, class or gender affiliations. Thus, when associational life creates such bridges and runs its affairs horizontally, in a hierarchal fashion, there is a greatest chance of success. This is thus the imperative in the South African context where there are high rates of inequality, including the gendered forms and other socio-economic deficits. Cunningham and Mathie (2002) suggest that attention needs to be paid to associations so as to mobilise bonding social capital as to increase bridging social capital as they link the community to the external environment crucial for sustained economic development and prosperity. Formal associations like Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and service and welfare organisations play a significant role in development efforts, as they have the platform to encourage public participation, an opportunity to develop the vision of the community and in planning the development of the community. They have a role to promote social capital and inclusive leadership, and community norms for public life, by encouraging local arts and


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cultural programmes (Green & Haines, 2002). In turn, the community gets other forms of capital for development efforts. The case below illustrates the role of both informal and formal associations in communities. Box 10.1 An example of informal and formal associations in communities Zimunyu is a disadvantaged, dry community in a semi-rural setting in the Eastern Cape. The population is made up mostly of the elderly, and children who are being raised by grandparents and youth. The children’s parents are mostly based in cities and send remittances back home. Formal associations: The formal associations found in the community include the Catholic church, child welfare services and a primary and secondary school. Informal associations: UManyano association for women in the church. Zimunyu Burial society, Ogogo sewing group, Omkhulu football club, Abancane qha reading club, Umzimkhulu cultural group. The community has little to no job opportunities and most able-bodied members have moved to the cities for work. The remaining youth meet every Wednesday for the Mzimkhulu cultural group where they do traditional dancing and art to maintain the cultural heritage of the community. In their engagements, they get to bond and receive information about possible formal job opportunities. This group provides support through provision of information, emotional support, acts as a recreational service and maintains interactions amongst the youth in the community. The UManyano association for women supports women in the community through prayer and emotional support. The group also visits the sick and assists with care-giving duties. This strengthens the relationships within the community and fosters cohesion and solidarity. The community also has a burial society to which all the community members belong. They contribute monthly amounts of money and the same amount is used as to provide soft loans to community members who need them to meet financial needs. There is interest charged on that loan to grow the financial base of the burial society. The burial society also offers catering services, prayers and emotional support to members who might have lost a loved one. It also helps to ease the financial burden that comes along with losing a loved one. Omkhulu get to meet and play football once a week; through this club, they are able to keep fit and maintain social relationships as community members. Sometimes, they run awareness campaigns for social issues such as alcohol abuse and domestic violence. The primary school hosts a reading club where learners are assisted with their homework and reading to improve their skills in literacy and academic performance. Child welfare assists in dealing with social issues pertaining to children as well as provision of social security to the elderly who are beneficiaries. All these are associations which could be used to spearhead development efforts in the community in various ways as they enhance connections and relationships in the community.

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The case example above showcases the importance of associations in communities and how these can be used to enhance communal relationships and become a vehicle for developmental efforts in the community. What is evident about associational relationships as a key to community development is that without them, there is a lack of trust, little effective mutuality, no shared norms, no commitment to the area, community cohesiveness declines and social underdevelopment is likely to occur (Kay, 2006). By recognising the existence of social capital in informal and formal associations, understanding the ways communities operate and how they function is enhanced and directs community development strategies towards interventions that will help rebuild social capital and subsequently other forms of capital. Given the above, it is not to say that enhancing social capital is the answer to community development. Points of caution include the fact that adverse effects can arise which can mean that others are actively excluded from associations and networks (Kay, 2006). Social capital can be used to exclude, undermine, destroy and suppress as networks and connections are usually formed and trusting relationships are formed on people who share the same values, and those who hold different values in the community might be excluded and not benefit from developmental efforts. Hepworth,  et  al. (2002) indicate that these might meet some communal needs, but these associations cannot make up for a shortage of affordable housing, transportation, job opportunities, inequalities and adequate health and mental health services. Informal and formal associations, relationships among people through social, kinship and associational networks that exist in communities have intrinsic values, which enhance the quality of life, health and well-being of the community. The purpose of community development according to Weyers (2011) is to bring about substantive and sustainable change in all spheres of community life in order to improve its members’ standard of living and quality of life. It is therefore evident that these associations enhance connections as well as healthy, social and human relationships and thus should be fostered for successful macro social work and development efforts. Emphasis on promoting opportunities for building these assets inherent in social relationships is paramount and evident in formal and informal associations, and networks. As a way of looking ahead, institutions and programmes that foster a sense of community and help articulate shared values can be encouraged as well as strengthened. Community ownership of public assets can also be supported to promote growth in local social capital as recommended by Kay (2006).

10.7  Recommendations Conceptualisation of communities varies in terms of space and non-space, based or virtual communities. Human relationships and building relationships between people at community are fundamental for achieving purposeful relationships and community development outcomes. Elements such as trust, respect, caring, empowerment, participation and collaboration are essential for relationship


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building. Communities have different cultural values and norms and these need to be recognised and acknowledged by macro social workers and community development practitioners in building healthy relationships with communities. Community development interventions and the profession of social work need to integrate indigenous values in education and practice of macro practice social work practice and community development efforts. Social capital (inclusive of social relations, formal and informal associations) provides mechanisms for adding value and building relationships at the community level and thus must be considered a core asset and resource to tap into in community work and development. What is also fundamental and central to the South African context in community development is embracing of the value of ubuntu when working with communities.

10.8  Conclusion Social capital and social relationships have stimulated scholarly discourse and empirical research in the field of social sciences, including the social work discipline. Social capital is the basis for partnership and collaboration in community work and community development efforts. The different forms of social capital and its benefits as they relate to communities have been shown to exist in the form of networks, and formal and informal association. Such sources include churches, UManyano association for women in the church. Zimunyu Burial society, Ogogo sewing group, Omkhulu football club, Abancane qha reading club, Umzimkhulu cultural group as explained above in Box 10.1. However, whether those organisations are empowering and, themselves, empowered, depends on their ability to bridge to other organisations and power structures. Macro practitioners can utilise this to harness trust and social relationships. Relationships can be harnessed by showing effective and efficient practice for social and economic development. Social capital, when conceived purely on social relationships, provides the basis for bridging and bonding capital. Community development has invested heavily in the related concepts of sense of community, empowerment, citizen participation and neighbourhood change.

References Barker, J., & Thomson, L. (2014). Helpful relationships with service users: Linking social capital. Australian Social Work, 68(1), 130–145. Borgatti, S. P., Jones, C., & Everett, M. G. (1998). Network measures of social capital. Connect, 21(2), 22–36. Bourdieu, P. (1985). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood. Brueggemann, W. G. (2014). The practice of macro social work. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishers.

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Chavis, D.  M., & Wandersman, A. (1990). Sense of community in the urban environment: A catalyst for participation and community development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 55–82. Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge MA: Havard University Press. Coleman, J.  S. (2000). Social capital in the creation of human capital. In P.  Dasgupta & I. Serageldin (Eds.), Social capital. A multifaceted perspective (pp. 13–39). Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callana, P. (2010). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage. Cunningham, G., & Mathies, A. (2002). Asset-based community development: An overview. Retrieved from Fiskes, A. P. (1992). The four elementary forms of sociality: Framework for a unified theory of social relations. Psychology Review, 99(4), 689–723. Fukuyama, A. F. K. (1995). Trust. The social virtues and creation of prosperity. London: Hamish Hamilton. Garreau, J. (1991). Edge city: Life on the frontier. New York: Basic Books. Gittel, R., & Vidal, A. (1998). Community organizing. Building social capital as a development strategy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (2002). Asset building and community development. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. Greene, M. (2000). The power of associations: Not mapping but organising. Unpublished paper. Available from ABCD Neighbourhood Circle Initiative, Evanston, IL: ABCD Institute. Hennessey, R. (2011). Relationship skills in social work. London: Sage Publications. Hepworth, D.  H., Rooney, R.  H., Rooney, G.  D., Strom-Gottfried, K., & Larsen, J.  A. (2002). Direct social work practice: Theory and skills (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. Hughey, J., Speer, P. W., & Peterson, N. A. (1999). Sense of community in community organizations: Structure and evidence of validity. Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 97–113. Kay, A. (2006). Social capital, the social economy and community development. Community Development Journal, 41(2), 160–173. Lombard, A. (2003). Entrepreneurship in Africa: Social work challenges for human, social and economic development. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 39(3), 224–239. Louw, D. J. (1998). Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the religious other. 20th World Congress of Philosophy. MacIver, R. (1971). Community, society and power, longitudinal studies and the social sciences, crime, police, and race relations: A study in Birmingham, family, class and education. The Sociological Review, 19(2), 253–278. Mbigi, L., & Maree, J. (1995). Ubuntu: The spirit of African transformation management. Randburg, South Africa: Knowledge Resources. McKnight, J., & Kretzmann, J. (1993). Building communities from the inside out. A path toward finding and mobilizing a community’s assets. Evanston, IL: Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, Northwestern University. Nicholas, L., Rautenbach, J., & Maistry, M. (2010). Introduction to social work. Cape Town, South Africa: Juta & Company Ltd. Pack-Brown, S. P., Thomas, T. L., & Seymour, J. M. (2008). Infusing professional etics into counselling education programs: A multicultural social justice perspective. Journal of Counselling & Development, 86, 296–302. Perkins, D. D., Florin, P., Rich, R. C., Wandersman, A., & Chavis, D. M. (1990). Participation and the social and physical environment of residential blocks: Crime and community context. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 83–115. Perkins, D. D., & Long, D.A. (2002). Neigbouring sense of community and social capital: A multilevel analysis. In A. Fisher, C. Sonn & B. Bishop (Eds.), Research, applications and implications (pp. 291–318). New York: Plenum. Pincus, A., & Minahan, A. (1973). Social work practice: Models and methods. Itassca, IL: F. E. Peacock.


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Putnam, R. (2000). Boling alone: The collapse and revival of American commune. New  York: Simon and Schuste. Ramose, M. B. (1999). African philosophy through ubuntu. Harare, Zimbabwe: Mond Books. Saegert, S., Thompson, J.  P., & Warren, M.  R. (2001). Social capital and poor communities. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Sampson, R. J. (1991). Linking the micro- and macro-level dimensions of community social organization. Social Forces, 70, 43–64. Schenk, R., Nel, H., & Louw, H. (2010). Introduction to community practice. Pretoria, South Africa: Unisa Press. Shutte, A. (1993). Philosophy for Africa. Rondebosch, South Africa: UCT Press. Spretnak, C. (2011). Relationality reality new discoveries of interreatedness that are transforming the modern world. Topsham, ME: Green Horizon Books. Stolle, D., & Rochon, T.  R. (1998). Are all associations alike? Member diversity, associational type, and the creation of social capital. American Behavioral Scientist, 42(1), 47–65. Swanepoel, H., & De Beer, F. (2011). Community development: Breaking the cycle of poverty (5th ed.). Lansdowne, South Africa: Juta and Co. Ltd.. Tonnies, F. (1988). Community and society (Gemischaft and Gesillschaft). New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions Books. Turner, D. (2015). Psychosocial and relationship-based practice. British Journal of Social Work, 45(6), 1935–1937. Verba, S., Schlozman, K.  L., & Brady, H.  E. (1995). Voice and equality: Civic voluntarism in American politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Walsh, J. (2000). Recognising and managing issues. Journal of Case Management, 9(2), 79–85. Weyers, M. L. (2011). The theory and practice of community work: A Southern African perspective. Potchefstroom, South Africa: Van Schaik.

Chapter 11

A Developmental Social Work Practice Framework for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for and Amongst Youth in South Africa Thulane Gxubane

11.1  Introduction The United Nations (UN) Youth Strategy (2030) notes that there is no universally agreed international definition of youth and defines ‘youth’ as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years. In this chapter, ‘youth’ refers to those whose age falls within 14–35 years as defined by the National Youth Policy 2009–2014 in South Africa (SA). This youth categorisation considers the social and economic imbalances of the past, which are yet to be fully addressed since not much has changed for young people in SA. Even though SA became a democratic state in 1994, the legacy of racial, gender and urban/rural inequality inherited from apartheid policies has had a negative impact on the living conditions of the youth from previously disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds as noted by the National Youth Policy 2009-2014. The chapter discusses first, theories the author believes should underpin a developmental social work practice framework, in promoting healthy human relationships, followed by a discussion on the values that underlie these theories. Thereafter, selected sources of conflict which often contribute significantly to unhealthy youth relationships are explored within a South African context. Finally, a developmental social work practice framework will be used to illustrate how social workers could assume different roles in pursuing multiple modes of intervention over and above casework to prioritise prevention, restoration and promotion of healthy human relationships in the best interest of the youth.

T. Gxubane (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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11.2  Theoretical Frameworks Theories are essential in social work since they help social workers to comprehend and respond to complex human problems and relationships. Theories are based on specific set of values and social workers often select theories which resonate with the values that are important to them (Van Breda, 2019). The theories this chapter will focus on are as follows: the ecosystem and restorative justice theories. The values of these theories resonate with those of the author as a social worker. More so, the importance of human relationships is pivotal to these theories as is to the African philosophy of Ubuntu. The author believes that Ubuntu needs to be considered as a philosophy to life rather than a theory. Ubuntu is a belief that embodies ideas about the interconnectedness of people to each other and the importance of the family or group, over the individual and the value of social responsibility towards others in the community.

11.3  The Ecosystem Theory This theory is pertinent to this chapter since it focuses on the dynamic interaction and relationship between people in their social environments. According to this theory, human beings exist within human relationships with the world around them (Mbedzi, 2019). In case of young people, these would include relationships they have with their families, peers, lovers, school, university, community and so on. Hence, human beings and their environments are constantly involved in a process of shaping each other (Mbedzi, 2019). Therefore, social workers who apply this theory aim to help their clients to achieve the best adaptive fit in their different social environments by changing the person or their environment or both (Mbedzi, 2019).

11.4  Restorative Justice The theory of restorative justice is relevant to this chapter since it focuses on mending broken relationships which have been harmed by a wrong-doing of one person to another. If left unresolved, the hostile relationship will affect the well-being of the parties who are in conflict, their families and community in general (Zehr, 1990). Skelton (1999) argues that nothing is new to South Africans about restorative justice. It is a theory of justice which promotes reconciliation rather than punishment of wrongdoers and it existed long before apartheid and colonisation in SA such that ‘…(r)econciliation, restoration and harmony lie at the heart of African adjudication’ (Skelton, 1999, pp. 93–94). The philosophical framework of restorative justice is very much the cornerstone of the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. This Act defines restorative justice as an approach to justice that aims to involve the child offender,

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the victim, the families concerned and community members to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations through accepting responsibility, making restitution, taking measures to prevent a recurrence of the incident and promoting reconciliation. The move to entrench restorative justice in the child and youth justice system in SA is basically going back to the traditional forms of indigenous approach to justice in accordance with Skelton and Frank (2001). The next section explores the values social workers need to uphold when they apply a developmental social work practice framework and aligning their interventions with the eco-system theory, restorative justice and the philosophy of Ubuntu.

11.5  Values Underlying Developmental Social Work Values of social development are grounded in those of the South African Constitution (1996) (Patel, 2015). These primary values include the following: social justice, democracy and participation, equality, non-discrimination, reconciliation, competence, integrity, professional responsibility, service, and the importance of human relationships (my emphasis). Primary values are translated into action by secondary values also referred to as ‘principles’. These principles include non-discrimination, human rights, people-centeredness, human capital, sustainability, partnership, inter-­ sectoral collaboration, decentralisation of services, transparency, accountability, accessibility and appropriateness (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997). Most of these values overlap with each other and also align well with those of Ubuntu and restorative justice as will be noted in our discussion below. The values that underpin Ubuntu include amongst others the following: the importance of family, respect for elders, deep commitment to meaningful community life, mutual trust, fairness, shared understanding, caring community, sharing of wealth, democratic participation and consultation, consensus, fairness, honesty, humanity, compassion, politeness, dignity, generosity, helpfulness, self-respect, sincerity, goodwill, tolerance, dignity and harmony in relationships (my emphasis) (Sekudu, 2019). Restorative justice values can be categorised as either process or individual values according to Pranis (2007). Process values are those that need to characterise a restorative practice process and should amongst others include democracy, responsibility, reparation, safety, healing, inclusion, reintegration, humility, respect, participation, interconnectedness, hope and empowerment (Pranis, 2007). Individual values are those that need to be nurtured in individuals that are participating in a restorative practice process and should amongst others include honesty, respectfulness, taking responsibility, compassion, patience, fairness, open mindedness, creativeness, and consideration of others’ needs, good listening and accountability (Pranis, 2007). Zehr (2002) believes that if he had to sum up different values and principles of restorative justice into one, he would choose the value of respect. He argues that respect must guide and shape the application of all restorative practices. Gxubane (2016, p. 15) maintains that the value of respect is embodied in the African


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philosophy of Ubuntu, which ‘refers to the belief that we need to treat others in the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and to treat others with compassion’. The next section explores the effects of absent biological fathers and youth unemployment as examples to illustrate some of the most predominant factors that contribute significantly to unhealthy social relationships for and amongst youth in general. It will be shown in the discussions that the effects of the afore-mentioned factors often result in other common youth problems such as lack of identity, poor sense of belonging, depression, lack of purpose in life, repeat offending, substance abuse, youth gang violence and so on.

11.6  Absent Biological Fathers There seems to be an increasing number of young people who are born out of wedlock in South Africa these days. Such children are often assigned their mothers’ surnames because more often their biological fathers were not involved in the children’s lives for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include parents falling out of love with each other; fathers denied the paternity before their children were born, fathers who failed to pay inhlawulo, a Zulu word which means ‘a fine1’, and fathers who fail to pay regular financial maintenance for their children. These are often the same reasons which motivate many unmarried mothers not to disclose the names and surnames of the fathers to their children even when children demand this knowledge from them. Whilst on the other hand, children grow up frustrated for not knowing their biological fathers and their surnames. This often emerges as a serious concern for children during adolescence. The frustration of being denied knowledge about their fathers seems to cause distress and profound anger amongst many young people who are going through this kind of life experience. This tension often results in depression and a breakdown of human relationships between the young people and their mothers, as well as their maternal families. In the past, it was thought this concern was only prevalent among young men. However, reality TV shows such as uTatakho (a Xhosa word which means ‘your father’) and Abobaba (a Zulu word which means ‘fathers’) which are screened weekly on Mzansi Magic TV channel expose the magnitude and the devastating effects of absent biological fathers in SA.  This is undoubtedly a major growing concern amongst young men and women in SA. Many young people battle to cope with the frustration of being denied knowledge about their biological fathers and therefore being denied their belonging and their true cultural identities. In dealing with their frustrations and the negative impact of the poor relationships with their mothers and their maternal families, many young people often resort to engaging in risky behaviour such as excessive consumption of liquor or drugs or/and criminal

1  A fine is a specific amount of money charged by the family of the unmarried mother which should be paid by the alleged father for impregnating a woman out of wedlock.

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activities to cry for attention from their mothers and maternal families to address their concerns regarding absent biological fathers in their lives. The extract from Gxubane’s (2012) study, which partly explored repeat offending among youth sex offenders, is presented below to illustrate the devastating effects of absent biological fathers on the family relationships and what often lies beneath what many may see as irresponsible persistent criminal behaviour and chronic substance abuse amongst youth. Box 11.1 Case study of repeat youth offenders An eleventh youth participant (YP11) and his significant other (SOYP11) who was his maternal grandmother both participated in a study. YP11 had the following to say about his persistent criminal behaviour: YP11: When I got back from the youth centre I tried to go to school but it was difficult as I went back to drugs and criminal lifestyle. I was arrested again on two occasions. I have served some time in Johannesburg prison. Nobody cared for me except for my late grandmother. I learnt a lot and benefitted from the different programmes I used to attend at the youth centre and I know although it would seem like I did not learn. I am aware that all the things I am doing are wrong. Researcher (R): Since you were aware that your behaviour was wrong and will get you into more trouble, what did you do to try and correct it? YP11: I have tried to get my life back in order but I fail. It is lot of things that push me to crime. I have been to drug rehab but it did not work for me as I will always go back to the drugs and often find myself in trouble with the law. R: So, what else do you think will help you to get your life back in good order? YP11: I think the first thing is my relationship with my father. I have tried to mend my relationship with my father but it did not work out. He was never there for me so it is difficult for us to have a good relationship. I strongly believe that my family especially my father if they can slaughter a goat for me and perform an ancestral cultural ritual to appease my paternal ancestors, I think it will help me to abandon crime. SOYP11 had the following to say about YP11’s persistent criminal behaviour: He used to drink alcohol, smoke dagga (cannabis) and used drugs … did not do anything positive. I am usually around during the week but not on weekends and that is when he got the chance to do his criminal activities and people would tell me what happened on weekends. It is like whenever I get into the house he gets out because he knows that I am very strict, if a child does something wrong, I cannot tolerate it even my own child knows that. I have to discipline the child while I am still alive. I had even disowned him at some stage. He came back last year in December from prison as he got arrested again now (meaning February of the following year). (continued)


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Box 11.1  (continued)

R: Last week I interviewed him (referring to YP11) at the police holdings cells where he was detained prior to his court appearance. He told me that he is aware that he is living a wrong lifestyle. He said to me he believes that a goat needs to be slaughtered for him to appease his paternal ancestors so he would be able to get his life back in track. He insisted that such a ritual to connect him with his father’s ancestors has never been performed for him and hence his persistent criminal life style which lacks direction. SOYP11: The problem is that his father is also an alcoholic so I do not know how he is going to do that. Besides, in this house we never practiced rituals or anything like that. We live by Christian values. R: So, you think it is an excuse? SOYP11: He started his criminal lifestyle since he was young. He started breaking into people’s houses when he was very young maybe it is because he lost his mother I do not know, but I think he was spoilt and had he behaved himself well all what you see in this house would have been inherited by him. Researcher’s interpretation of data: The above case story illustrates the nature of some common issues many young people grapple with in their lives. These issues include communication breakdown and dysfunctional family relationships, and the challenge of being raised by single mothers and often with some help from extended maternal family members. Young men who are raised without their biological fathers in their lives often feel that they do not have a ‘true’ identity. They often try to look somewhere else for a father-­ figure. The men that they will often look up to unfortunately would be bad role-models especially for those who are living in the townships. YP11 is convinced that an ancestral ritual must be executed to appease his paternal ancestors and that this would connect him with his roots of origin, implying his identity culturally. In many cultures the surname of the clan or family will be carried forward by the boy children since it is assumed that girls will get married and will therefore relinquish the surname of the family. In some families, rituals that YP11 is referring to are often accompanied by the process of surname changing.

11.7  Youth Unemployment Youth unemployment refers to young people in an involuntary status of being unemployed but with the capacity, desire and eligibility to work (Gxubane, 2019). Youth unemployment is an international phenomenon which is likely to continue for some time as a result of stagnant and slow economic growth which fails to create adequate job opportunities for young people around the globe. Despite all the positive post-­ apartheid changes in SA, young people are still faced with many barriers to social inclusion. Van Der Merwe, Dawes, and Ward (2012) assert that it is important to

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note that those who have the highest risk factors of engaging in violent crime are identified as racially marginalised male youth living in low-incomes communities. A lack of income generation opportunities for young people often leads to hopelessness and frustration. More so, this happens when the unemployed youth are labelled as failures in life by their families, peers and community in general. However, on the other hand, Liang, Tin Ng, Tsui, Yan, and Lam (2017) argue that young people who are in stable employment often have successful transition to adulthood, with the implications that those without employment have failed to make a successful transition to adulthood. Hence, unemployment often affects the self-­ esteem of young people who find themselves out of work for a long time. The expectations and demands from the parents, families and lovers can be overwhelming and unbearable, especially when they are constantly compared to other youth who are employed and succeeding in life. This often creates tension and difficult relationships between the youth and their parents, their lovers and family in general. Hence, it is common for some youth to start drinking liquor excessively and/or consume drugs to escape the harsh realities they are confronted with daily in their lives. Some young people even consider committing suicide. As a desperate measure to overcome the economic challenges they are confronted with, some young women join prostitution while some young men often consider joining gangs (Gxubane, 2019). However, their continued involvement in prostitution or gang activities often results in disapproval and unhealthy relationships with families and communities in general. Hence, it is important for social workers to become actively involved with other key role-players in ameliorating the impact of youth unemployment by supporting and working with the young people in entrepreneurship programmes (Gxubane, 2019; Liang et al., 2017; Lombard & Strydom, 2011).

11.8  Involvement with Gangs Kynoch (1998) asserts that the Western world has had an influence in the development of gang violence in most developing countries and SA is no exception. The history of gangs dates back to the early 1900s where it started in prisons in SA (Van Onselen, 1984). Kinnes (2000) argues that the social context of gangs generally determines their nature and activities, and that gangs may include persons both inside and outside of jails. Graham, Bruce, and Perold (2010) assert that for young people to establish their identity, they need to forge close identification with particular groups. They further state that, where young people are not able to access positive social capital or empowering social networks, they often become more vulnerable to high-risk behaviour (Graham et al., 2010). Gangs have been found to be attractive to young people who experience the harsh realities of poverty and unemployment (Sefali, 2014; Cooper & Ward, 2012). Cooper and Ward (2012) argue that the risk factors of youth engagement in crime, violent activities and gang membership are identified by inadequate supports in the areas of entrenched,


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long-­term poverty and inequality, employment potential, educational attainment, family well-being and social inclusion. Other factors which motivate youth to join gangs include safety and protection a gang can offer, substance use, appetite for aggressive behaviour, weapon possession and use, peer group pressure, acceptance by peers, control of turf and common enemy (Sefali, 2014; Cooper & Ward, 2012). Mguzulwa and Gxubane (2019) found that despite all the benefits of gang membership, most young people desired to leave the gangs not only due to the stigma associated with gangs, but because of the negative impact their involvement in gangs has on the quality of relationships they have with their families and community in general. It was also discovered that the process of leaving gangs is very challenging for various reasons as outlined in the table below (Table 11.1).

11.9  Developmental Social Work Lombard (2019) notes that there is no universal definition of developmental social work. This chapter adopts Patel’s (2015) definition since it resonates with the philosophy of Ubuntu, restorative justice and the eco-system theories which were discussed earlier in the chapter. Patel (2015: 127) defines it: as an approach to social welfare and involves the practical and appropriate application of knowledge, skills and values to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities in their social context… This approach aims to promote social change through a dual focus on the person and the environment, as well as on the interaction between the two.

A developmental approach was adopted as part of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) 2015 and it was also endorsed by the International Association of Schools of Social Work to promote a developmental approach in social work (Patel, 2015). In SA, the mandate for a developmental approach to social work is derived from the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997) and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Youth at Risk, which promote prevention, early intervention and restorative justice as key principles that should inform all Table 11.1  Benefits and detriments of gang membership on self and relationships with others Benefits Love & belonging Respect from gang members Acceptance by gang members Recognition amongst peers Good self-esteem Gang identity Protection Safety Security Social support

Detriments Uncertainty and internal conflict Bad role model(s) Isolation from family and community Poor relationship with family and community Rejection by family and community Stigmatisation by family and community Mistrust by family and community

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interventions and strategies that are targeted at working with young people in distress. The promotion of healthy human relationships for and amongst youth should entail holistic and multifaceted interventions that are focused not only on mending the broken relationships but also on ascertaining the underlying causal factors which have contributed to the dysfunctionality of the relationships.

11.10  M  ulti-Modal Response to Promoting Healthy Human Relationships A multi-modal approach is proposed by Patel (2015, p.  268) to promote social development practice. These modes of intervention include poverty-reduction and sustainable livelihoods strategies, family-centred and community-based strategies, community information, education and communication strategies, social policy and planning strategies, and advocacy. These modes of intervention are not mutually exclusive to each other. They overlap with each other and they are often applied concurrently in practice. This section illustrates how these modes of intervention can be applied by social workers within a developmental social work practice framework to restore broken human relationships and promote ones for and amongst unemployed youth and those who are living with absent biological fathers in their lives.

11.11  M  ode of Poverty-Reduction and Sustainable Livelihoods Strategies In the literature, there seems to be a little focus on the role of social work in relation to youth unemployment and youth entrepreneurship, as these are generally not associated with key functions of social workers (Liang et al., 2017; Lombard & Strydom, 2011). Gxubane (2019) argues that social workers, particularly those in probation services, need to rise to the challenge of youth unemployment and poverty reduction. Gxubane (2019, p. 5) further asserts that, by working with unemployed youth in entrepreneurship development programmes, probation officers would be promoting a holistic and developmental approach to dealing with young people at risk across the spectrum; promoting resilience amongst young people at risk of committing crime amid difficult economic times; and contributing to crime prevention which is one of their core legislative mandates according to the Probation Services Act 116 of 1996 in SA.  In assisting young people to generate income to reduce poverty and the negative effects associated with it, social workers could link unemployed young people to possible job opportunities through government and private job placements agencies; assist young people to access funding for establishing small businesses and/or help them to enrol in youth entrepreneurship programmes,


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which are offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or/and National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) in SA; and facilitate the placement of unemployed youth in volunteer or internship programmes where they can get exposed to and learn marketable job skills whilst they receive monthly stipends.

11.12  Mode of Family-Centred and Community-Based Strategies A developmental practice paradigm requires social workers to promote prevention of destructive human relationships, and to intervene as early as possible in ameliorating troublesome human relationships as they emerge. There are mainly three levels of interventions social workers could pursue in promoting peace and healthy relationships amongst young people. These include primary, secondary and tertiary levels of social work interventions. Social workers often intervene at a tertiary level when human relationships have been severely harmed. Primary and secondary levels of interventions are important because they help to prevent destructive relationships. More so that once destructive relationships have emerged, they often lead to physical violence among young people. A developmental approach requires a paradigm shift – from reactive to proactive interventions which promote prevention and restorative practices in responding to youth interpersonal conflicts and violence. Primary prevention strategies require social workers to work collaboratively with other stakeholders in targeting the broader community through awareness campaigns. Secondary prevention strategies could include macro and meso-early interventions which are targeted mainly at youth who have been identified as at risk. These are young people who are likely to join gangs such as learners who have been identified by the teachers as troublesome, youth who have dropped out of school, those experimenting with drugs, those experiencing depression and so on.

11.13  Restorative Practices Edwards and Parkinson (2018) use the term ‘restorative practice’ as an all-inclusive concept ‘which covers a range of approaches including restorative justice and FGCs’ and conceptualise it as a mediation process in social work practice ‘which helps to build and maintain healthy relationships, resolve difficulties and repair harm where there has been conflict’ (Edwards and Parkinson, 2018: xi). Family Group Conferencing (FGC) is a restorative justice process often convened by a social worker to promote dialogue, reconciliation and closure between parties who are in conflict (Gxubane, 2016). It is a preferred form of a restorative process over others, especially when the conflict involves children and youth, since it involves family members who could be contributors to the conflict, and some family

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members who are or could potentially provide social support to the young person. In helping the youth and their families to address conflicts which would have led to broken relationships as a result of matters relating to absent biological fathers and/ or unemployment of the youth, social workers need to assess, plan and arrange for an FGC, where appropriate and possible. Community mediation is another restorative justice process which brings together various parties in conflict in an attempt to seek a resolution which is acceptable to all parties involved (Schoeman, 2012). Similar to FGCs, community mediation seeks to help rival groups to make peace and to find a mutually agreed solution upon a way forward. In addressing gang violence which results in unhealthy relationships, social workers need to facilitate community mediation between rival youth gangs. Social workers need to ensure that each party gets an opportunity to speak and this includes assisting the gang members to define and clarify issues, to reduce obstacles for communication and to explore possible solutions in order to find a mutually satisfactory resolution (Schoeman, 2012). In facilitating community mediations, social workers need to be patient and understand that such processes are time- and labour-intensive. The mediation sessions could take a couple of meetings before an agreement, if any, is reached by the rival groups. Hence, social workers are warned that it is not their responsibility to find a solution, but they need to rather allow the parties to take ownership of the conflict and find solutions since the power and responsibility lie with them (Schoeman, 2012). To maximise the effectiveness of FGCs and community interventions, social workers need to consciously apply the values of restorative justice as discussed earlier, when facilitating communication and interaction between young people and their parents and/or families due to power imbalances, as well as, between youth gangs.

11.14  M  odes of Community Information, Social Policy and Advocacy • Social workers could partner with DTI, which seeks to encourage entrepreneurship education and awareness amongst youth in high schools and universities with the purpose of promoting youth economic empowerment in SA, generally. Social workers need to work with the youth to identify collaborative partnerships through social networks. These could include international, regional and local coalitions of non-governmental and community-based organisations. The youth could use these partnerships to foster healthy humane and working relationships, and collaborations in the fields of youth entrepreneurship and economic development programmes. In relation to absent biological fathers, social workers need to assume an advocacy role and facilitate small- to medium-sized focus groups with single fathers who do not have any relationship with their children and the youth who are living without their biological fathers so they could discuss possible


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benefits of a healthy relationship with a father and devastating effects of absent biological fathers. • Social workers need to actively participate in media platforms such as radio and television programmes, which seek to raise awareness and sensitise the community about the negative consequences of absent biological fathers on young people and on the community in general. • Social workers need to mobilise and partner with interest groups and other stakeholders to participate in the formulation and modification of policies which are designed to alleviate poverty for the unemployed youth, and those which to seek to address the plight of youth with absent biological fathers.

11.15  Conclusion It was shown in this chapter that young people are generally exposed to various sources of vulnerabilities due to their socio-economic, family and socio-political backgrounds. They are confronted with enormous social pressures, which often result in intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts. It was argued that healthy human relations and relationships are essential in enhancing good social functioning of the youth. This chapter explored some of the major sources of conflict which contribute to unhealthy relationships with the self, amongst young people and difficult relationships with others. Furthermore, a developmental social work practice framework for promoting healthy human relationships for and amongst youth in SA was explored. The values that social workers need to uphold in the application of a developmental social work practice framework were discussed. The chapter further illustrated how social workers could apply multi-modal approaches within a developmental social work practice framework to restore broken social relationships and promote healthy human relationships for and amongst unemployed youth and those with absent biological fathers. Important to note is that a multi-modal response within a developmental social work practice framework requires social workers to work with clients of different sizes, a diversity of client populations, a diversity of skills and roles and a flexibility of interweaving the modes of intervention.

References Cooper, A., & Ward, C. (2012). Intervening with youth in gangs. In C. L. Ward, A. Van Der Merwe, & A. Dawes (Eds.), Youth violence: Sources and solutions in South Africa (pp. 241–273). Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town (UCT) Press. Edwards, D., & Parkinson, K. (Eds.). (2018). Family group conferences in social work: Involving families in social care decision making. Bristol, UK: Policy Press. Graham, L., Bruce, D., & Perold, H. (2010). Ending the age of the marginal majority: An exploration of strategies to overcome youth exclusion, vulnerability and violence in Southern Africa.

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Southern Africa trust: Influencing policies to end poverty. Retrieved from Gxubane, T. (2012). Exploration of residential diversion within a restorative justice framework in the management of young sex offenders in South Africa. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Cape Town, Johannesburg, South Africa. Gxubane, T. (2016). The prospects of family group conferencing with youth sex offenders and their victims in South Africa. In T. Gavrielides (Ed.), Offenders no more: An interdisciplinary restorative justice dialogue (pp. 267–287). New York: Nova Publishers. Gxubane, T. (2019). The role of probation officers in enhancing innovative and sustainable youth entrepreneurship programmes. Youth Voice Journal, 9, ISSN (online): 2969, 1–19. Kinnes, I. (2000). From street gangs to criminal empires: The changing face of gangs in the Western Cape (ISS monograph 48). Pretoria, South Africa: Institute for South African Studies. Kynoch, G. (1998). From Ninevite to Comtsotsi: Township gangs, divided communities and urban violence in twentieth century South Africa (seminar paper). Johannesburg, South Africa: Institute for Advanced Social Research: University of Witwatersrand. Liang, J., Tin, N.  G., Tsui, M., Yan, M.  C., & Lam, C.  M. (2017). Youth unemployment: Implications for social work practice. Journal of Social Work, 17, 560. https://doi. org/10.1177/1468017316649357 Lombard, A. (2019). Developmental social work. In A. Van Breda & J. Sekudu (Eds.), Theories for Decolonial social work practice in South Africa (pp. 47–66). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Lombard, A., & Strydom, R. (2011). Community development through social entrepreneurship. The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher, 23(3), 327–344. Mbedzi, P. (2019). Person-centred. In A. Van Breda & J. Sekudu (Eds.), Theories for Decolonial social work practice in South Africa (pp.  198–221). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Mguzulwa, S., & Gxubane, T. (2019). Male high school learners’ perceived impact of their involvement in youth gang violence on their educational attainment in Khayelitsha Site B. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk Journal, 55(3) 266–283. Ministry of Welfare and Population Development. (1997). White paper for social welfare. Government Gazette, Vol. 386, No. 18166 (8 August). Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Patel, L. (2015). Social welfare and social development in South Africa (2nd ed.). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Pranis, K. (2007). Restorative values. In G.  Johnstone & D.  W. Van Ness (Eds.), Handbook of restorative justice (pp. 59–74). London: Willan Publishing. Republic of South Africa (RSA). Child Justice Act 75 (2008). Government Gazette. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Schoeman, M. (2012). Working with victims of crime. In L. Holtzhausen (Ed.), Criminal justice social work: A South African practice framework (pp. 76–98). Cape Town, South Africa: Juta and Company Ltd.. Sefali, P. (2014). Young, high, and dangerous: Youth gangs and violence in Khayelitsha. Retrieved from Sekudu, J. (2019). Ubuntu. In A. Van Breda & J. Sekudu (Eds.), Theories for Decolonial social work practice in South Africa (pp. 105–119). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Skelton, A. (1999). Juvenile justice reform: Children’s rights and responsibilities versus crime control. In C. J. Davel (Ed.), Children’s rights in a transitional society (pp. 88–106). Pretoria, South Africa: Protea Books House. Skelton, A., & Frank, C. (2001). Conferencing in South Africa: Returning to our future. In A. Morris & G. Maxwell (Eds.), Restorative justice for juveniles: Conferencing, mediation and circles (pp. 103–119). Oxford, UK: Hart Publishing.


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Van Breda, A. (2019). Introduction to social work theory. In A. Van Breda & J. Sekudu (Eds.), Theories for Decolonial social work practice in South Africa (pp. 1–19). Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press. Van Der Merwe, A., Dawes, A., & Ward, C. L. (2012). The development of youth violence: An ecological understanding. In C. L. Ward, A. Van Der Merwe, & A. Dawes (Eds.), Youth violence: Sources and solutions in South Africa (pp. 53–91). Cape Town, South Africa: UCT Press. Van Onselen, C. (1984). Small matter of a horse: The life of ‘nongoloza’ mathebula, 1867-1948. South Africa. Retrieved from Zehr, H. (1990). A new focus for crime and justice: changing lenses. Scottsdale, AZ: Herald Press. Zehr, H. (2002). The little book of restorative justice. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Part IV

Policy and Legislation

Chapter 12

Social Policy, Social Welfare, Social Security, and Legislation in Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa Ndangwa Noyoo

12.1  Introduction This chapter highlights the roles of various macro policies, development approaches and legislation that help to promote healthy human relationships in South Africa. It focuses primarily on the developments that have unfolded in the country, after the demise of the apartheid system in 1994. In its discussions, the chapter briefly touches on the country’s past, as a way of providing context and meaning to contemporary issues. As mentioned in other sections of the book, South Africa is going through difficult economic times and the economy has not performed well. This situation is now being compounded by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. In all likelihood, this pandemic will trigger a global recession. Nonetheless, in this year’s budget, the Minister of Finance noted that there were 18 million South Africans on the country’s social assistance programme (National Treasury, 2020). These millions of South Africans are helped to at least subsist to a certain level and stave off chronic poverty and hunger. Without the state’s programmes of assistance which are aimed at strengthening the livelihoods of vulnerable and poor South Africans, the nation could be plunged into civil strife. Indeed, these programmes not only act as ‘cushioning’ mechanisms against deprivation, but help to strengthen relationships in families and communities. They also help to fortify vulnerable groups’ livelihoods. For example, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) grant, which is now in its third year, helps to meet the needs of millions of South African children. It also plays a part in government’s priorities pertaining to children as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP). This grant has two distinct objectives: improve poor children’s access to early childhood programmes and ensure that early childhood centres have adequate infrastructure. The grant’s baseN. Noyoo (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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line totals R1.7 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period (National Treasury, 2019). According to Noyoo (2017, pp. 9–10), South Africa is currently sitting with a mixed or hybrid welfare regime that constitutes reformed features of the old colonial-­apartheid welfare regime, which is tax-based and non-contributory, and means-tested, such as the social assistance and public employment schemes; some class-based entitlements with ‘race connotations’ which owe their existence to the ‘sunset clause’ compromises (attributable to the negotiated settlement that led to the country’s liberation) which are contributory or subsidised by the state, and the new social welfare provisions that arose out of the contestation of the liberation struggle, known as the ‘social wage’ and developmental social welfare services. The changes in the social welfare sector were facilitated with the finalisation and adoption of the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997), which created parity for all races, through social welfare and social security services and programmes. According to the White Paper: Social welfare policies and programmes which provide for cash transfers, social relief, and enabling and developmental services ensure that people have adequate economic and social protection during times of unemployment, ill-health, maternity, childrearing, widowhood, disability, old age and so on. Social welfare programmes of this nature contribute to human resource development by enabling impoverished households to provide adequate care for their members, especially children and those who are vulnerable. When such programmes are combined with capacity building, people can be released from the poverty trap (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997, p. 4).

In this respect, a new social welfare paradigm was adopted by the country which was known as social development or the developmental approach to social welfare in the post-apartheid era. Therefore, South Africa essentially discarded the colonial-­ apartheid welfare ethos, steeped in residualism welfare and racism. The residual approach to social welfare was characterised by minimal state intervention in the provision of social welfare services. This is because the state saw the family and market economy as the natural mechanisms for meeting needs. According to this thinking, it was only after the family and market broke down that the state was supposed to intervene and provide services to the people (McKendrick, 1987). Undoubtedly, the country took bold steps to transform the welfare sector as the White Paper duly points out: South Africa has embarked on the arduous task of socio-political and economic reform. While sound economic policies and a well-functioning labour market are essential for growth and employment generation, by themselves, they are not sufficient. To reap the benefits, South Africa must invest in people; that is, develop the human capital which is essential for increasing productivity and moving people out of poverty. Internationally, the strategy that has proved most effective in improving economic and social well-being consists of three elements: labour-absorbing growth, equitable investments in education, health-care and social support for poor and vulnerable groups (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997, p.4).

The transformation of the policy and legislative realms was crucial to the meeting of the needs of the majority of the people in South Africa who are equally vulnerable and marginalised. The next section closely examines this issue.

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12.2  Policy and Legislative Transformation since 1994 After 27 April 1994, South Africa became a democratic country and its people were freed from colonial and apartheid oppression. In the past, racial discrimination and the exclusion of the majority African population from social, political and economic avenues of advancement were institutionalised via various policies and legislation. After 1994, this situation had to change. Hence, in 1994, the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP)  – a socio-economic policy framework  – was launched by the new government to immediately respond to the various development deficits of the country. Thereafter, in 1996, the Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) macro-economic strategy was adopted by the ANC government and this policy would greatly influence the social policy trajectory of the country. Furthermore, in 2004, the government adopted the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) to co-ordinate and mobilise national efforts, towards growing the economy at an average rate of 4,5% between 2005 and 2009, and then an average rate of 6% between 2010 and 2014. ASGISA was South Africa’s response to halving poverty, underdevelopment and unemployment by 2014, as part of its target of realising the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set for 2015. Two years later, the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) was finalised by the government to bridge the efforts of government, business and organised labour. It also attempted to speed up the acquisition of priority skills in South Africa and to incorporate JIPSA into the country’s Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS). In 2010, the New Growth Path (NGP) was unveiled by the government for purposes of responding to the emerging opportunities and risks in the economy, while building on policies advanced after the achievement of democracy, such as the RDP, which advocated greater equity as a basis for long-term development and growth. The following year, the National Planning Commission (NPC) completed the National Development Plan (NDP) which was embraced as the country’s national development strategy. Accordingly, the NDP seeks to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030. It also envisages a country wherein all citizens have the capabilities to the ever-broadening opportunities available and to change the life chances of millions of South Africans, especially the youth – that remain stunted by the history of apartheid (NPC, 2011). The NDP offers a long-term perspective and defines a desired destination and identifies the roles different sectors of society need to play in reaching that goal. The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The NPC (2011) asserts that South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, and growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting ­leadership, and partnerships throughout society. The foregoing macro policy frameworks and the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) are touchstones of the transformation of the country and efforts by the state to meet the needs of poor and vulnerable South Africans. To give effect to these noble ideals, progressive legislation had to be passed while the old colonial and apartheid laws were repealed.


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12.3  Legislation Legislation is central in making sure that South Africa is a safe country and that people behave in an appropriate manner. It enforces order through various Acts and municipality by-laws. The Constitution was approved by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996 and took effect on 4 February 1997. In a constitutional democracy such as South Africa, all laws are subject to the Constitution. As discussed in other chapters of this book, the Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. Therefore, the law and any obligations imposed by the former must be fulfilled by everyone in the country. The Parliament, the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) are the role players in the making of laws in South Africa. Government departments and agencies, social service professions, as well as civil society actors, implement government policies and programmes, while being guided by the country’s Constitution. The Bill of Rights that is enshrined in the Constitution informs these professionals’ work as they respond to the plight of poor and vulnerable South Africans. Nevertheless, it is reiterated here that social workers and social development practitioners are the main professionals that this book is focussing on. Due to this, service delivery in South Africa is informed by the Rights-Based Approach. The goals of this approach include achieving social justice, a minimum standard of living, equitable access and equal opportunity to services and benefits, and a commitment to meeting the needs of all South Africans with special emphasis on the needs of the most disadvantaged in the society (Patel, 2005). The Constitution is buttressed by Chapter Nine Institutions which protect and secure the rights of citizens. They are namely: The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which is responsible for promoting respect for human rights, by all South Africans, as well as protecting and monitoring human rights in the country. The SAHRC receives and investigates complaints of violations of human rights. The second institution is the Public Protector’s office which secures the rights of citizens by safeguarding them from unfair treatment by the state and its officials. Maladministration and corruption in the public sector are scrutinised and kept in check by this office. The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) is the third institution that monitors gender equality and is particularly concerned with the rights of women. It investigates and challenges laws, practices and customs that discriminate against people because of their gender. Another Chapter Nine Institution is the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, which promotes respect for all communities in South Africa with regard to culture, religion and language. It seeks to build cohesion and national unity across South Africa. The office of the Auditor General (AG) provides oversight on government departments’ accounts, financial statements and financial management. It monitors all government departments in the three spheres of government at the national, provincial and local levels. The Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is another body that strengthens the Constitution and regulates broadcasting in the interest of the South African public. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) oversees elections at all three levels

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of government and makes sure that they are conducted in an impartial and transparent manner. It makes sure that elections are free and fair. Lastly, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) investigates all cases of police wrong-doing, be it police brutality, corruption or any other misconduct on the part of the police. It also investigates violation of citizens’ rights by the police.

12.4  Conceptual Definitions To make the discussions of this chapter lucid as possible, it is important to define its key concepts. To begin with, social policy will be unpacked. The term social policy involves two aspects: First, it refers to the actual policies and programmes of governments that affect people’s welfare. Second, it connotes an academic field of inquiry concerned with the description, explanation and evaluation of policies (Midgley, Tracy, & Livermore, 2000). Of the different ways of influencing human well-being through social policy, the direct method is the most common; for example: (i) Introduction of social services such as education, housing, income security and family, and community welfare (ii) The use of statutory regulation, for example, enacting legislation that mandates employers, home-owners, educational institutions, commercials firms and many others to adopt measures that have a direct impact on human well-being (iii) Through the tax system (Midgley et al., 2000) One of the major purposes of social policy is the redistribution of income (often) in order to move towards equity. It is this objective that has been subject to sustained attack by those who think that ‘the social’ poses a serious threat to development (Mkandawire, 2004). However, this ability to redistribute wealth to the poorer and vulnerable segments of the population helps to raise their quality of life and enhance their livelihoods. In the long run, such interventions by the state also help to promote healthy human relationships. Furthermore, social policy can foster equality, social inclusion and poverty reduction when it is located within progressive regimes, for example, transformative social policy. This approach to social policy puts a high premium on universal membership and coverage of provision as opposed to residual social policy which only sees its role as intervening when there is market failure and a breakdown of the family (Mkandawire, 2006). In this regard, social policy would also be underpinned by the norms of equality and social solidarity. Social policy framed by these norms serves many functions, for example, production, protection, reproduction, re-distribution and social cohesion or nation-building. Thus, social policy instruments would range from education to health care, agrarian reform, child care, old-age care, and to fiscal instruments (Adesina, 2010). Furthermore, social welfare and social welfare policy are key concepts which must be elucidated in order to provide clarity to the analyses of this chapter. When


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moving from a normative premise, social welfare is conceived in its most progressive and inclusive form. Therefore, a definition of social welfare befitting this book’s perspective emphasises the idea of social welfare as a state or condition of human well-being. It denotes a state of being or doing well (Midgley, 1997; Burch, 1999). According to Segal (2016, p. 2) in the term social welfare, ‘social’ speaks to the collective nature of society as citizens are part of many systems, and thus systems combine to form the larger society. In this regard, Zastrow (2010, p. 2) observes that the goal of social welfare is to fulfil the social, financial, health and recreational requirements of all individuals in a society. Social welfare seeks to enhance the social functioning of all age groups, both rich and poor. Zastrow (2010) makes a very important point here when he asserts that when other institutions in society such as the market economy and the family fail, at times, to meet the basic needs of individuals or groups of people, social services are needed and demanded. However, in less industrialised societies, people’s basic needs have been fulfilled in more direct and informal ways. It can thus be seen here that social welfare is playing the roles of the family and kin that had responded to the needs of individuals in the pre-colonial era, especially in Africa. But due to modernisation and urbanisation, African societies had to follow almost the same trajectory of European countries, where the meeting of needs began to be at a formal level. Therefore, formal systems and in this case, the social welfare system, had to be created in the modern states and then institutionalised. That is how social welfare systems took on their institutional character. In this way, social welfare will refer to a system of arrangements, programmes, mechanisms – formal or informal, governmental or non-governmental – that try to meet the needs of individuals and families who cannot fulfil such needs through their own resources (Johnson, Schwartz, & Tate, 1997). Flowing from the genesis of social welfare was the development of the profession of social work. Midgley (1997) aptly points out that a major innovation in the promotion of social welfare was the emergence of professional social work in the mid-nineteenth century. Social work was an entirely new approach to dealing with social problems. For the first time, professionally trained personnel were available to assist individuals and their families to deal with their problems. On the other hand, social welfare policy refers to the principles, activities or frameworks for action adopted by a government to ensure a socially defined level of individual, family, and community well-being (Blau & Abramovits, 2010, p. 21). Social welfare and social work are primarily related at the level of practice (Zastrow, 2010). In addition, social welfare marshalls financial resources needed for social workers to intervene on behalf of vulnerable groups. Thus, social welfare is a ­discretionary spending choice that provides basic necessities for the poor through taxes (Burch, 1999). Taken further, social welfare policy gives effect to social welfare programmes and in this light, it is an essential part of any social worker’s repertoire. This is because it defines and shapes social welfare programmes such as income support, employment, housing, health care and food (Blau & Abramovitz, 2010). In some measure, social welfare policy covers what are referred to as the fields of practice or what may be likened to ‘welfare provision’ in the areas of ‘social security, education and training, housing, health and community care ser-

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vices, work and training services, criminal justice services and policy, personal services’ (Walsh, Stephens, & Moore, 2000, p. 19). According to Dobelstein (1986), there are prominent participants in the social welfare policy-making process and these are: (1) important government officials, such as the president and high-ranking bureaucratic chiefs; (2) private citizens who have high public visibility; (3) staff members in administrative bureaucracies; (4) legislative bodies; (5) researchers who provide evidence regarding policy effects and (6) professionals such as social workers. Popple and Leighninger (1998, pp.  30–31) contend that there are three levels of social welfare policy practice, namely: (a) Macro level – this involves broad laws, regulations or guidelines that provide the basic framework for the provision of services and benefits. (b) Mezzo level – this refers to the administrative policies that organisations generate to direct and regularise their operations. (c) Micro level – this is what happens when individual line social workers translate macro- and mezzo-level policies into actual service(s) to clients. Ultimately, it will be social workers who actualise or give meaning to the policy intent that was expressed by a particular social welfare policy. Nevertheless, it is important to note that social workers do not operate in a socio-political and economic vacuum. Also, there is no one-on-one relationship between a social worker and client that is not impacted upon by macro-economic frameworks such as legislation, or protocols, or departmental budgets. Equally, any specific worker–client relationship will take place within a cultural context that holds particular attitudes towards fundamental dimensions of life such as sexual relationships, child-rearing practices, roles associated with gender and so forth (Hennessey, 2011). Another important issue that informs this chapter’s discussions is social security. The concepts of social security and social protection have evolved over time, and are used in various ways throughout the world. Due to the multiple forms that both concepts take nowadays, achieving definitional clarity is a formidable challenge – particularly as neither term is used consistently, differing widely across countries and international organisations. In addition, new terms have been added to the classical terminology, such as social transfers, conditional and unconditional cash transfers and the Social Protection Floor observes the International Labour Organisation (ILO) (2011, p. 8). For purposes of this discussion, social protection is defined as the core of social policy which comprises social insurance, social assistance and the central element of family care and solidarity. Based on contributions, social insurance is a tool for mitigating life cycle risks and covers the following: illness, unemployment, old age and injury. Social assistance is taken as a tool for poverty alleviation, and is generally financed from the public budget and may take the form of financial assistance to people in need or subsidies: cash or in-kind transfers to vulnerable groups (Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia, 2009). Social protection plays a particularly important role in realising the human rights to social security for vulnerable persons, for example, older persons. This mechanism ensures that income security and access to essential services, including health and care ser-


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vices, promotes the rights and dignity of vulnerable individuals like older persons. Reliable sources of income security play a particularly important role for older persons. Public social security pensions have become important institutional solutions to guarantee income security in old age (ILO, 2014). In this regard, the right to income security in old age, as grounded in human rights instruments and international labour standards, includes the right to an adequate social security pension. Ensuring rights, dignity and income security of older women and men depends also on their access to social services, including health care and long-term care (ILO, 2014).

12.5  H  ow Policy Instruments and Legislation Can Promote Healthy Human Relationships This section will present two cases where the policies and programmes of the state have strengthened human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. These are namely the Old Age Grant or pension and the Child Support Grant (CSG).

12.5.1  Old Age Grant (Pension) One of the positive unintended consequences of the social assistance programme and particularly the Old Age Grant (Pension) is the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. This issue is also linked to the HIV/AIDS pandemic which decimated families and communities. Due to this, a new problem of orphans emerged on a grand scale. In many instances, when there were grand-parents, especially grand-mothers, they were the ones who filled the void of deceased parents in communities across South Africa. This trend is still continuing in the country and elsewhere on the African continent. However, the foregoing issue is compounded by high rates of unemployment according to Plagerson and Ulriksen (2015). Therefore, at the heart of building families and communities by the grand-­mothers (known as Gogos in South Africa) is the Old Age Pension. This direct cash transfer, from the state, was and continues to be used to look after and raise families mostly constituting orphans: The state grants that reach older persons have a profound effect on relations between generations. For instance, old age pensions operate as a very extensive and effective poverty alleviation scheme in South Africa. These are essentially distributive in nature; they reach more rural communities than urban and benefit more women than men. As a result, the Old Age Grant has assisted in enhancing the status of the elderly, as they have become wage earners and breadwinners (Makiwane, 2011, p. 6).

This pension is ‘stretched’ by the Gogos (Gogo in singular) through various innovative strategies that have enabled them to buy school uniforms for their grandchildren and other orphans. The pension has also allowed them to pay for the children’s school fees. This ability by the Gogos to financially meet the needs of households is given credence by the old-age pension which they receive on a

12  Social Policy, Social Welfare, Social Security, and Legislation in Promoting…


monthly basis. As can be noted from the citation above, this cash transfer plays a critical role in not only meeting the needs of families and households, but promotes healthy human relationships. Without this amount of money, and the way it is innovatively employed by grand-mothers, there would be probably no proper human relationships existing in households and families across the poorer sections of the country. The foregoing position is echoed by numerous research studies and scholars alike, such as those by Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) (2004), Patel and Triegaardt (2008) and Plagerson and Ulriksen (2015), among others. The Old Age Grant has positive knock-on effects on households which among others serves as an anti-poverty measure: Due to mass unemployment in South Africa, pension recipients are often the only contributors to income in households and thus, support the entire family on their SOAP [State Old Age Pension] grant (Potts, 2012, p. 85).

In addition, the Green Paper for Families duly notes that evidence from research supports the above assertions and suggests that government programmes, such as the Social Assistance Programmes, Disability Grant, Child Support Grant and the State Old Age Pension are used and pooled by recipients as some form of ‘family grant’ and are not only meeting the needs of the recipient. This is part of the reason that social grants are making a significant contribution towards poverty reduction because families use them as a family benefit (Department of Social Development, 2011). The Green Paper for Families also recognises the role that the foregoing policy instruments and programmes play in building family life: Like many other families in the developing world, South African families have been forced to adapt to colonialism, urbanisation and globalisation. Family life refers to those activities that enable a family to effectively play its roles in society, such as nurturing, socialising, parenting, and the delineation of both sex and gender roles. The ways in which family members behave and interact with one another are all central to family life. Family life will also cover the quality of relationships between various members, for example, between parents and children, or between spouses and siblings (Department of Social Development, 2011, p. 46).

12.5.2  Child Support Grant (CSG) After the Child Support Grant (CSG) was adopted in 1996, this form of state assistance increased exponentially and now covers a wider population than it was initially envisaged. The positive spin-offs of the CSG have been identified by many in South Africa as developmental in content and outlook. It is a crucial mechanism for safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of South African children. However, just like the old-age pension, the CSG is leveraged for family preservation or household sustenance. It is indeed a very important social protection instrument. Several studies have also been undertaken in order to show the value or positive impact of the CSG.  One research study which was undertaken by the Department of Social Development (DSD), the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the


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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2012 found out that the CSG promoted nutritional, educational and health outcomes. The study also notes that early receipt of this grant ‘significantly strengthens a number of these important impacts, providing an investment in people that reduces multiple dimension indicators of poverty, promotes better gender outcomes and reduces inequality’. The study also discovered that adolescents receiving the CSG were more likely to have positive educational outcomes and are less likely to experience child labour or less likely to engage in behaviours that put their health and well-being at risk.

12.6  Conclusion This chapter argued that social policy, social welfare, social security and legislation promoted healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. In most cases, social workers are the ones who implement such policies and legislation in their work of providing services to vulnerable groups. It can therefore be noted that by responding to and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable, such instruments have helped to strengthen the livelihoods of these citizens in the last 26 years of democracy. Therefore, the benefits of the foregoing state interventions, at household levels, in terms of social services or cash transfers, for instance, help to directly or indirectly promote healthy human relationships in the country. The chapter also showed how social grants, when they are innovatively employed by the beneficiaries, help to meet the needs of families and households and not only themselves. Lastly, it can be argued that the strengthening of families is also coupled with efforts to build healthy human relationships in South Africa.

References Adesina, J. O. (2010, June). Rethinking the social protection paradigm: Social policy in Africa’s development. Paper presented at the Conference on Promoting Resilience through Social Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa, Dakar, Senegal. Blau, J., & Abramovitz, M. (2010). The dynamics of social welfare policy (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Burch, H. A. (1999). Social welfare policy analysis and choices. New York: The Haworth Press Inc.. Department of Social Development (DSD). (2011). The green paper for families. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) & the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). (2012). The South African Child Support Grant Impact Assessment: Evidence from a survey of children, adolescents and their households. Pretoria, South Africa: UNICEF. Dobelstein, A. W. (1986). Politics, economics, and public welfare (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.. Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCW). (2009). Social policy and social protection. Retrieved from

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Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI). (2004). The social and economic impact of South Africa’s social security system. Retrieved from rp37.pdf Hennessey, R. (2011). Relationship skills in social work. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications. International Labour Organisation, (ILO). (2011). Social security for social justice and a fair globalisation: Recurrent discussions on social protection (social security) under the ILO declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation, 2011. Geneva, Switzerland: ILO. International Labour Organisation, (ILO). (2014). Social protection for older persons: Key policy trends and statistics. Geneva, Switzerland: ILO. Johnson, L. C., Schwartz, C. L., & Tate, D. S. (1997). Social welfare: A response to human need (4th ed). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Makiwane, M. (2011). The older persons and their relationship with younger generations in South Africa. Retrieved from d=1&ved=0ahUKEwi42-7ih7DRAhWEKyYKHU6oC6oQFggZMAA&url=http%3A%2F% Zd_93bYDbBlM_jNTz-aTg McKendrick, B. W. (1987). The development of social welfare and social work in South Africa. In B.  W. McKendrick (Ed.), Introduction to social work and social welfare in South Africa (pp. 5–19). Pretoria, South Africa: HAUM. Midgley, J. (1997). Social welfare in global context. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication. Midgley, J., Tracy, B., & Livermore, M. (2000). The handbook of social policy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication. Ministry of Welfare & Population Development. (1997). White paper for social welfare. Government Gazette, Vol. 386, No. 18166 (8 August). Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Mkandawire, T. (2004). Social policy in a development context: Introduction. In T. Mkandawire (Ed.), Social policy in a development context (pp. 1–33). Houndsmill: PALGRAVE. Mkandawire, T. (2006). Targeting and universalism in poverty reduction. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). National Planning Commission (NPC). (2011). National development plan (vision 2030). Pretoria, South Africa: NPC. National Treasury. (2019). Budget speech. Pretoria, South Africa: National Treasury. National Treasury. (2020). National budget speech. Pretoria, South Africa: National Treasury. Noyoo, N. (2017). Social policy and welfare regimes typologies: Any relevance to South Africa?, 2(2), 1–16. Patel, L. (2005). Social welfare & social development in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press Southern Africa. Patel, L., & Triegaardt, J. (2008). South Africa: Social security, poverty alleviation and development. In J.  Midgley & K.  Tang (Eds.), Social security, the economy and development (pp. 85–109). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Plagerson, S., & Ulriksen, M. S. (2015). Cash transfer programmes, poverty reduction and women empowerment in South Africa. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organisation (ILO). Popple, P. R., & Leighnninger, L. (1998). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy for social workers. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Potts, R. (2012). Social welfare in South Africa: Curing or causing poverty? Penn State Journal of International Affairs, 2(1), 74–92. Retrieved from social_welfare_final.pdf Segal, E. A. (2016). Social welfare policy and social programmes: A values perspective. Boston, MA: Cengage. Walsh, M., Stephen, P., & Moore, S. (2000). Social policy & welfare. Cheltenham, UK: Stanley Thorne. Zastrow, C. (2010). Introduction to social work and social welfare: Empowering people (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks Cole.

Chapter 13

Social Protection as a Tool to Promote Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa Chance Chagunda

13.1  Introduction Healthy human relationships are fundamental to peace, harmony and sustainable development. The unambiguous realities of unhealthy human relationships in South Africa have their roots in colonial and apartheid policies, poverty, food insecurity, vulnerability and a gender hierarchy that contributes to a range of internal and external socio-economic challenges, which in return has impact on how people relate to each other. Although the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) and other post-1994 policies guarantee healthy human relationships, through various socio-­ economic rights, the country is still very far from achieving healthy human relationships. This chapter examines the links between the social protection system and healthy human relationships. As such, it discusses the way social protection interventions have helped to promote healthy human relationships in the post-apartheid era. It uses historical and empirical evidence to drive its main points home. It is important to note that the interventions by the state in the post-1994 era were informed by the values of democracy, social inclusion and nation-building. This chapter argues that through the implementation of such interventions, strong human relationships were created. In this regard, the post-1994 policy development and implementation context helped to strengthen healthy human relationships in South Africa. Before going forward, in showing how the post-apartheid agenda was able to unfold in the social protection system, a glimpse into the past is needed. The following section revisits the characteristics of the South African society pre-1994.

C. Chagunda (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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13.2  C  haracteristics of the South African Society Pre- and Post-1994 In South Africa, the birth of the democratic government in 1994 meant that the apartheid regime had officially come to an end, but the devastating impact of its economic and social policies remained. This included the social policies that served the minority, extensive structural unemployment, poverty, social disintegration and the spread of HIV/AIDS.  These and other issues forced the new government to transform the social welfare system after 1994. In line with this approach, the African National Congress (ANC)-led government assured the nation that democracy was not just about the franchise but also the improved quality of life for ordinary people (ANC, 1994). Since 1994, the ANC-led government has adopted and promoted values based on a human rights approach, as enshrined in the country’s Constitution, so that services are not provided on any other criteria of the past, such as race, but on the needs of human beings. In this respect, it is necessary to examine the underlying characteristics of the South African society, before 1994, to understand how the majority were excluded from social protection and thus from healthy human relationships. Before 1994, access to the social protection system was skewed along racial lines, with black people being the most disadvantaged. Patel (1992, p. 34–35) argues that the foundation of racial discrimination and the distorted nature of social welfare policies favouring whites were laid down during the colonial times. The Dutch East India Company, at the Cape of Good Hope, in the seventeenth century started to raise money for “poor relief” for whites who were in dire straits (Visser, 2004). In 1806, when the British occupied the Cape Colony, the money raised for poor relief was organised into social welfare provision to take care of children, the physically disabled and indigent, especially white people. The number of poor whites increased after the second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), and poor relief remained the major component of the social security programme until the end of the 1920s (Visser, 2004). After the 1920s, occupational insurance for retirement was institutionalised for employed people based on a fund to which both employers and employees contributed. African, coloured or mixed race and Indian people’s socio-economic challenges remained largely ignored. After the depression of the late 1920s, there was a growing public concern about increased white poverty (Visser, 2004, p. 2). Woolard and Leibbrandt (2010, p. 7) state that non-contributory social old-age grants were instituted in 1928 for whites and coloureds who were not covered by occupational retirement insurance. In the same year, the Carnegie Corporation of New  York funded a scientific inquiry into the causes of white poverty, its extent and the means by which it could be reduced. One of the recommendations of this 1932 Carnegie Report was to create a state department of social welfare (Visser, 2004). Therefore, the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) was created in 1937. Besides dealing with white poverty and the welfare of white children, the disabled received increased attention, through legislation and implementation. The department provided better services to the white population than to any other population group according to Visser (2004). Extensive social security, housing, health and education as well as

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job reservation ensured that white wage earnings were secure as stated by the Taylor Report (Department of Social Development, 2002). It can be argued that the National Party (NP)’s accession to power in 1948 signalled the consolidation of social security for the white population. According to Visser (2004), from 1950 onwards, the DSW transferred its welfare responsibilities for African, Indian and coloured people to the newly created departments of Bantu Administration, Indian Affairs and Coloured Affairs, respectively. Patel (1992) argues that the creation of these separate departments increased and deepened racial discrimination in the provision of social services and social security benefits. Black African welfare needs were badly neglected during the apartheid period (Patel, 1992). Several pieces of legislation were enacted to safeguard white privilege during this period. For instance, the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1956, which enforced job reservation for the white population, improved white people’s socio-economic well-being (Doxey, 1961). Also, the Pension Fund Act of 1956, that regulated pension funds, excluded almost all black Africans (Visser, 2004). Terreblanche (2003) and Van de Walt (2000), cited in Visser (2004), state that fiscal expenditure on social assistance increased rapidly from the 1960s onwards, in the attempt to incorporate black Africans. This incorporation of the previously excluded marked the beginning of the removal of racial barriers that had allowed the white welfare state to prosper. During the “late apartheid period” of the 1980s under P.W.  Botha, changes and restructuring in social welfare reflected declining economic growth rates, which promoted an early drive towards neo-liberal restructuring, and an attempt to get Africans, coloureds and Indians to support apartheid in the face of growing protest. By the late 1980s, the racial welfare gap had narrowed slightly (Visser, 2004). According to Woolard and Leibbrandt (2010, p. 9), the Social Assistance Act of 1992, at last, did away with all inequitable provisions and expanded the eligibility rules to include all South Africans. Black African people had been especially disadvantaged in accessing cash transfers, compared to people of other races. As the White Paper for Social Welfare attests: There is great racial inequality in child- and family-care benefits. Poor black women have been particularly disadvantaged. It is from this group that the greatest demand for social assistance will be felt in the future. Women can claim support for themselves and their children through the law courts. The system, however, is complex and unreliable. (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997, p. 49)

In short, these grants went almost entirely to white, coloured and Indian women and their children. In some areas, the children’s portion of the cash transfer was paid for children living in the care of their grandparents in the form of a state maintenance grant, and that is why it was popularly known as the “Granny Grant”. Children of other races, in this position, had the benefit of the larger foster care grant, which was received by black African children in some areas, but not in others (Lund Committee, 1996). The pre-1994 South African government favoured the white minority and excluded the majority (mostly black Africans) of the population, and this contributed greatly to unhealthy human relationships. The social policies and regulations passed during apartheid clearly excluded most of the population from


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resources and services and were residual in nature. The residual approach to social policy first ensures that all other measures available to an individual, such as assistance from family and voluntary institutions, have been depleted and the state comes in as the last resort to provide temporary assistance (Titmuss, 1974). The population covered by the state is very small, and, in this regard, it was mainly the white and other racial groups. The Department of Social Welfare argues that: past welfare policies, legislation and programmes were inequitable, inappropriate and ineffective in addressing poverty, basic human needs and the social development priorities of all people. Services are not always located in underprivileged communities and therefore inaccessible to their members (Ministry of Welfare and Population Development, 1997, p. 49).

For the majority of South Africans, the social welfare policies of the apartheid government meant the denial of human rights. In order to include those who had been excluded, there was a real need to formulate and implement social policies that could realise and meet the basic human needs of every eligible person in society (Gil, 1992). This could lead individuals to develop spontaneously, normally and healthily, in accordance with their innate capabilities.

13.3  Policy Instruments The challenges of widespread poverty, child mortality, hunger and deprivation in most developing countries, including South Africa, put pressure on policy-makers to take imaginative and bold steps to transform their nations. The provision of social protection in the form of cash transfers is a critical component of policy instruments for various goals: poverty reduction; the promotion of household well-being and support of critical economic objectives; and the promotion of political stability, social harmony and social control (Chagunda, 2006). Thus, cash transfers can address four areas of social policy concerns, namely, developmental/generative, protective, preventive and promotive/transformative (Smith & Subbarao, 2003; Samson, van Niekerk, & MacQuene, 2006). The provision of cash transfer to support coping strategies, to deal with risks, to protect the poor against shocks, to tackle deep poverty and to promote development are critical to a developmental state (Chagunda, 2014). Cash transfers form part of the social protection system within the field of social policy and are critical in the enhancement of healthy human relationships. One argument for cash transfers in South Africa lies in their redistributive nature, which address the marked income differences between the poor and the wealthy, but at the same time promote human relationship. Although the end goal of a social protection system is to increase people’s capabilities and opportunities to depend on themselves, it is a state policy intervention to deal with the short-, medium- and long-term developmental needs of its people (Mishra, 1977; Republic of South Africa [RSA], 1996; Department of Social Development, 2002). There are always various factors that can influence a social policy change in a country. The figure below illustrates these issues. It is a useful

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Other processes that influenced social policy changes in South Africa Freedom Charter (1955) and Reconstruction and Development Programme (1994)

The Constitution (1996)

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (SA ratified 1995)

Lund Committee on Child and Family Support (1996)

White Paper for Social Welfare (1997)

Findings of the Inter-Departmental Task Team (1999) Taylor Committee of Inquiry into Comprehensive Social Security (2002)

Fig. 13.1  Policy and legislative context. Other processes that influenced social policy changes in South Africa

tool to outline the historical context of developmental social policy in South Africa (Fig. 13.1).

13.4  Freedom Charter (1955) and the RDP (1994) In its 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the ANC-led government emphasised the developmental characteristics that were already expressed in the Freedom Charter (1955). These included the need to encourage the participation of all citizens in policy decision-making processes and service delivery, thereby promoting equal rights and equitable distribution of services that are preventive. The Freedom Charter also pointed out that health services would be run by the state and free medical care and hospitalisation will be provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children. Also, education would be free, compulsory, universal and equal for all children, and higher education and technical training would be opened to all by means of state allowances and scholarships awarded on the basis of merit. Further, the elderly, the orphans, the disabled and the sick would be cared for by the state (ANC, 1955, 1994).


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13.5  State-Led Assistance During the apartheid period and after the dawn of democracy, the main cash transfers in the field of child and family care were the Foster Care Grant (FCG) and State Maintenance Grant (SMG). The SMG was provided in two forms: one to cover children’s expenses (children’s allowance) and then to cover the expenses of a parent (parent’s allowance) (Burman, 2004). The parent’s allowance went to all minority races (whites, coloureds and Indian women). The SMG was administered by different departments for different race groups: for whites, it was the Department of Health and Welfare; for Indians and coloureds, it was the Department of Internal Affairs; and for a minority of black women, it was the Department of Co-operation and Development. These departments changed over time. Coloureds and Indians, in the latter years of apartheid, were mainly served by the Department of Coloured Affairs and the Department of Indian Affairs, respectively. This was followed by the Departments of Social Welfare under the House of Delegates and the House of Representatives in the tricameral parliament of 1984–1994. The departments awarded the SMG differently and with differing amounts according to their racial classification (Burman, 2004). The Report of the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support (Lund Committee, 1996) states that, although all South African women were legally eligible for the cash transfers, South African black women were largely excluded from accessing the SMGs, particularly in the former homelands. Two out of every 1, 000 South African black children were receiving the cash transfer, compared to 48 out of every 1, 000 coloured children and 40 out of every 1, 000 Indian children (Lund Committee, 1996). Burman (2004) confirms that there were certain conditions unique to South African black women, including those in Cape Town, who were much affected by the influx control provisions of the Coloured Labour Preference Area. To access the SMG, black women, especially those originally from the independent homelands (Transkei and Ciskei), had to provide proof of legal residence in Cape Town. The Lund Committee Report shows that clearly racial groups were treated unequally in accessing social grants under apartheid and that the selective provision of social protection disregarded people’s human rights. Thus, black African women faced a highly confused and arbitrary situation. One of the reasons why people migrated from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape was to find better social welfare provision, but the social policy let them down because of its bias towards whites (Burman, 2004). All recipients had to pass a means test, but it differed according to the woman’s race group. In 1983 and early 1984, the maximum grant payable for whites was R152 per month for the parent’s allowance and R40 for each child. However, the single allowance (R15) and scholar’s allowance (R8) appeared to be viewed as bonuses which could be added to these figures. The maximum payable for coloured and Indian women was R93 per month for the parent’s allowance and R23 per month for each child, up to four children. For blacks, the standard child allowance was a maximum of R14 for the first child and each subsequent child up

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to the fourth; it was extremely rare for a black woman with less than two children to receive a maintenance grant (Burman, 2004, p.  62). The SMG was based on the nuclear family model, but this model did not fit South African families living in poverty. Many were headed by single women or otherwise fell outside of the conventional definition. The Lund Committee (1996) argued that the fragmentation of African families is to be seen as part of a broader political system whose economic and political policies systematically disrupted family life, particularly affecting African households. The social policy legislation, in the form of a Maintenance Act – prior to the Maintenance Act (99 of 1998) – required parents, especially men, to support their children. Women who applied for the maintenance grant first had to show that they had tried to get support in terms of that Act, via the Maintenance Court. The child’s allowance, on the other hand, was provided for in the Children’s Act and later the Child Care Act (Burman, 2004).

13.6  T  he Values of Democratic Social Inclusion and Social Protection System After 1994, the South African government’s formulation and adoption of social policies was influenced by newly adopted values or principles, which are contained in the Constitution and social policy frameworks. In order to ensure that social policy implementation is in line with the transformation agenda of South Africa, these principles include access to adequate housing. This means that the government provides affordable, habitable and accessible housing to every South African. Government also makes available services, materials, facilities and infrastructure and provides legal security of tenure (Khoza, 2007). Furthermore, everyone has the right to have access to social security, including appropriate social assistance, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants (Constitution, Section 27) and access to basic education. No person should be obstructed in pursuing his or her basic education (Constitution, Section 29) to prevent the poor from falling into deeper levels of poverty. Through institutions and legislation, the government should put in place mechanisms to support the poor, such as the provision of employment to everybody within the labour force and social grants (Department of Social Development, 2002; Liebenberg & Pillay, 2000). It is important to note that South Africa had its first democratic elections in April 1994, and a new Constitution was passed in December 1996. As a result, South Africa had, for the first time in its history, laws that ensured equal rights for all its citizens, enshrined within the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. These rights, including socio-economic rights, are enforceable. The South African Constitution favours a human rights approach to social policy, which acknowledges and emphasises the interrelatedness, interdependence and indivisibility of social, economic, civil and political rights. By adopting the values and principles of a human rights framework for social security, the government


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sends a message that it will fulfil its social protection responsibility. The South African Constitution has been acclaimed as one of the most liberal and progressive examples of legislation in the world. Turok (2003) states that the South African Constitution is respected because it affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom and also links up with the covenant of socio-economic rights such as housing, education and health care. These human rights are in line with the social democratic state championed by T.H. Marshall, a sociologist who argued that social rights are a unique achievement of the twentieth century (Mishra, 1977). However, in practice, the government places more importance on the civil and political rights that form first-generation rights (e.g. rights to vote, to life and freedom of speech). However, the socio-economic second-generation rights lag behind. These rights are fundamental to promoting the dignity and comprehensive well-being of everyone within South Africa. According to Liebenberg and Pillay (2000), they are essentially developmental rights and as such contribute to healing the divisions of the past and establishing a society based on democratic values and social justice. If first-generation rights ensure political citizenship for people, the second-generation rights mean social citizenship for the same people (Marshall, 1965). Together, these constitute comprehensive citizenship. During the past 25 years, since the advent of democracy and the new constitutional dispensation, the South African Parliament focused largely on policy formulation and law-making. The social policies that have been formulated to respond to particular contingencies faced by society are explicitly framed in post-1994 values, including equality. The SMG was standardised, and the institutions administering cash transfers were transformed. This was the dawn of a new system, in which social policy would have an impact in the lives of eligible (by means test) needy people, regardless of race. All people were equal and had the same opportunity to access social security benefits. Taylor (2004) states that transforming the social protection system in an era that has been characterised by insecurity has led to significant debates about the type of approach that can best respond to the crises of poverty and human security. The appropriate form of social protection in the South African scenario should be one that can have an impact on poor people in terms of access to income, employment, health and education services, nutrition and shelter. In short, it should aim at providing a minimum standard of well-being to people in dire circumstances, enabling them to live with dignity (Taylor, 2004). As a policy framework, the White Paper for Social Welfare of 1997 went very far to set a basis for transforming the social assistance system and enhancing human relationships in the country. It emphasised poverty alleviation and integrating social assistance with other interventions such as strengthening family life; the adoption of a developmental approach in service design and delivery; focusing on citizen participation in development; and acknowledging the importance of working within fiscal constraints. This was done in the way that people could understand that the vision of social welfare service was to be implemented progressively.

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13.7  Findings of the Inter-departmental Task Team (1999) The Minister for Welfare, Population and Development convened an inter-­ departmental task team to review the social security system so that it was in accordance with the values of democratic social inclusion. It identified critical gaps such as many people remained financially vulnerable in respect of health care; no child benefits were available for children older than 7 years and under school-leaving age; and a large number of South Africans remained vulnerable to harsh poverty, with limited means of advancement (Department of Social Development, 2002). Due to these and other challenges, the task team recommended that South Africa should investigate the social security structure, noting that the necessary changes “would require considerable planning, political debate and consultations with the social partners and all sections of the community” (Department of Social Development, 2002, p. 10). This led the Cabinet to appoint a committee of inquiry into comprehensive social security for South Africa, chaired by Professor Vivienne Taylor. Thereafter, the Committee released its report (known as the Taylor Report) in 2002.

13.8  The Taylor Committee of Inquiry (2002) The Committee found that strategies to address child poverty must be part of an overall strategy to alleviate and reduce poverty. It further stated that measures to address child poverty, the Child Support Grant (CSG) in particular, were central to its recommendations, covering “a comprehensive and integrated medium- to long-­ term framework for income support” (Department of Social Development, 2002, p.  77). The Taylor Committee recommended that the CSG be extended up to 18 years and that it be supplemented by a programme for appropriate nutrition and child care. However, in order to properly address income poverty, the Committee recommended a comprehensive social protection package. Thus, comprehensive social protection for South Africa seeks to provide the basic means for all people living in the country to effectively participate and advance in social and economic life and in turn to contribute to social and economic development. Comprehensive social protection is broader than the traditional concept of social security and incorporates developmental strategies and programmes designed to ensure, collectively, at least a minimum acceptable living standard for all citizens. It embraces the traditional measures of social insurance, social assistance and social services, but goes beyond that to focus on causality through an integrated policy approach including many of the developmental initiatives undertaken by the State (emphasis added) (Department of Social Development, 2002, p. 41).


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13.9  S  ocial Protection System Boosts Women’s Access to Food Women at a household level are generally responsible for providing food for the household and maintaining family nutrition. The PhD empirical research conducted in two townships in the Western Cape – Graafwater and Khayelitsha – reveals the reality of women in accessing food and the role of social transfers such as cash grants is keeping households from starvation. The aim of the research conducted by Chagunda (2014) was to gain deeper insights into poor women’s experiences as grant recipients and the impacts of government cash transfers in households in which recipients reside. The sampling technique was purposive non-probability, and the data collection instrument was a semi-structured interview schedule. By means of qualitative research method questions, in the interview plan, the focus was on the experiences of women residing in poor households. The purposive sample of cash transfer recipients consisted of 146 women and 14 men from different households. The relatively small sample of male respondents was included to compare and contrast their perspectives on the usage of cash transfers (Chagunda, 2014). Data from this study is used to analyse women’s ability to make food available to households. Chagunda’s research (2014) displays that without an entitlement to social transfers, in the form of cash grants, all households, in the research study, would be without food and would experience hunger daily. Households in which women were the recipients of social grants were more probable to use the grants to put food on the table. In the households receiving social grants, women were mainly beneficiaries because they continued to be the main caregivers. The norms for getting the CSG are such that the grant follows the child and the caregiver receives the grant as a proxy for the child. Generally, female relatives of the child are the caregivers, and if these relatives are not available, then other extended family members take care of the child or children. Most households in the research were female-headed, and a recurring theme emerging from the research findings strengthens the importance of cash transfers as the main source of income to relieve absolute destitution in the deprived households. The graph below shows the items on which women grant recipients spent their cash. These recipients were also involved in skills training programmes for jobs; they allocated the largest percentage of the cash transfer on skills-training courses. It happened that these recipients were on the training programme at the time of the survey. One can easily assume that once the training was complete, the expenditure on skills training reduced. The graph shows that the second biggest percentage was spent on food items. Food was regarded as a priority in terms of expenditure for most of the respondents, and most of the respondents depended on the social grants to buy food items. In this regard, the grant income is predictable and allows recipients the flexibility to choose the items they wish to purchase and to spend their income on other significant needs that have developmental outcomes. The vocational training courses that the social grants enable respondents to attend also advance recipients’ ability to receive paid work and improve their quality of life (Chagunda, 2014) (Fig. 13.2).

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Fig. 13.2  Items on which recipients spent grant money (Chagunda, 2014)

The research respondents reported that they could use the grant to buy items every month depending on the most urgent needs in that month and that the major portion of the grant income was consistently used to buy food as shown in the foregoing graph. As shown in the graph below, respondents indicated that they spent the greatest portion of their CSG on skills training courses. The second item in the graph shows that CSG recipients used their cash to buy food. Therefore, it is important to note that the recipients were able to pay for skills training using CSG because they were paying their fees in instalments over a certain period (Chagunda, 2014). The predictability of the cash transfer allowed them to make such commitments including recipients pooling their income and buying food items in bulk, directly from wholesalers, at reduced costs and thereafter sharing the various food items amongst members of the group. For decades, poor people have used this as a cooperative strategy to increase the purchasing power of the grant income. Some recipients buy food through local shops when they have the means to do so in relation to their needs. The grant recipients are better able to access a wider range of food types and to ensure they have basic food items on a regular basis. In most households in South Africa, women – who are wives and mothers and as heads of households  – are involved in roles of providing, preparing and cooking food for the entire household. Social grants enable poor women to fulfil these roles at a very basic level as this female old-age grant recipient in Harare-Khayelitsha stated: …This grant enables us as old people to buy food which is critical to the whole of the household but most importantly to join social clubs… I belong to a burial club since I am no longer young, thus not much to expect in life. Soon God will take me and my children will not suffer because I have already prepared for my funeral. (Female OAG recipient cited in Chagunda, 2014)


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Statements like the one above reflect the vulnerability of grant recipients and also how they are able to reduce their exposure to risk by using the cash to pay for food and future expenses such as funeral costs. Social transfers play a great role in providing resilience for the poor and strengthening the livelihood of poor communities, as an elderly respondent in the study undertaken by Chagunda (2014) notes on the links between land dispossession and the importance of social transfers: … since the whites took land from our forefathers we cannot depend on the land to provide us with daily food, we have to buy food every time… thus grants enable us to buy food for ourselves and the household… I support two orphans and their mother died 3 years ago. (Female OAG recipient cited in Chagunda, 2014)

Taking the above-mentioned into consideration, Miller (2012, p. 5) rightly argues that a household is not food secure if it exists in a context where even though there is so much food in markets, people do not have money to purchase it. It is a fact that although South Africa produces enough food for everyone, people need income to access food. The supply and availability of food in a country does not guarantee access to food as revealed in the statement made by a woman in Chagunda’s study in 2014: …There is nothing more painful than seeing so much food in stores but no one in your household has the money to buy such food… children crying and begging people for food… My husband used to try to do casual jobs but when he became sick it was so hard… We are fortunate now that I am receiving two child support grants that we all survive on by purchasing food and other things. (Female recipient of a Child Support Grant cited by Chagunda, 2014)

The above CSG recipient states that she was able to buy food because she was caring for two children who qualified for and received the Child Support Grant, and as such, these two grants provided a predictable income for the household. It can be concluded that the means to acquire an income intended to buy food is fundamentally important. The research findings, in Chagunda’s (2014) study, reveal that while social grants do not remove households from chronic income poverty, they provide reliable basic income to ensure that the destitute are able to have a minimum basket of food for household members. It has to be noted that some respondents found ways to increase their income to produce additional food for the household. The predictability of social grants helps recipients to leverage funds to buy additional resources such as animals for resale. Findings in Chagunda’s (2014) study show that combining grant income with income generated through other survival mechanisms, such as a small business, has the potential to help grant recipients to produce more food and thus improve household food security. Any grant money used to start small businesses contributes to the economic life of the households and community at large. Social grants improve exchange relationships in many ways as articulated by Sen (1982). It has to be emphasised that micro-initiatives at the household level contribute to food production leading to self-reliance (Oakley, 1991, p.  17) and ­self-­improvement (Burkey, 1993, p. 58). All these initiatives and interventions are critical to the enhancement of healthy human relationships.

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13.10  S  ocial Grants Enhance Relationships Within Households In Chagunda’s study, 26 per cent of the respondents noted that the cash transfer had an influence in changing relationships within households because members could undertake joint planning and budgeting together. Social grant respondents also revealed that receiving the grant improved how household members related to each other. The respondents in the study indicated that in the past, only husbands or men were viewed as household breadwinners and now that they, as women, had a cash grant income, they were able to have a say, in terms of how the household income could be spent as the following Disability Grant recipient stated: … My husband is not working. He was retrenched two years ago. When he was working, we could not discuss anything and most of the money was spent on him. Since I started receiving my grant now, we plan together. Joint planning is very important to make sure we prioritise… We discuss how to spend the grant and the income from the business which originated from social grant… my husband says I am good household financial manager. (Female Disability Grant recipient cited in Chagunda, 2014)

The Disability Grant seems to have assisted members of the respondent’s household to foster joint planning, to have better gender relations and to enjoy better quality of life. It is worth noting that there is a big contrast between a woman and a man in the above quotation. The quotation reveals that when the man used to work, he never discussed with the household how to spend the income. Actually, the income was spent on him alone. It is interesting to note that even though the grant income was small, the woman involved the husband to plan and budget the cash transfer. In this regard, these factors can help people to live well, leading to household development with enhanced healthy human relationships. In the foregoing quotation, it is revealed that the husband acknowledged that the wife was a good household manager. The male respondent from Harare-Khayelitsha reinforces the concept that social grants increased participation in joint planning and decisionmaking within households. He observed: …We always discuss, plan together and budget together since we started receiving the pension grants… This is important so that we focus on important items that are needed at home… People that stay and eat together must do things together too… I am the only one that drinks alcohol so I have to ask for that to be included in the budget. (Male OAG recipient cited in Chagunda, 2014)

It can be concluded that receiving a social grant played a major role in increasing joint planning and decision-making, thus enhancing human relationships. In financially struggling households, a grant provides a basic guaranteed income that makes it possible for the recipients to participate in decisions on the use of resources. Apart from social grants promoting joint budgeting, some respondents indicated that they were able to fulfil their role as an active citizens through their membership in a municipal public participatory structure: … Because of the pension grant money, I pay for my own travelling expenses especially when I have to attend meetings… I have been on the ward forum since 2006 and I state categorically that we have influence in decision-making on a number of issues, because


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they make it to the council agenda. But on some of the topics, decisions are made above us. (Female OAG recipient cited in Chagunda, 2014)

The quotation above demonstrates the importance of an income to perform civic duties, especially in a world where travelling is only possible through transport systems which can only be accessed if one has an income; citizens with no or limited income find it difficult to travel to central gathering where decisions on the community welfare are made. The social grant played a great role in enabling the recipient to take part in community welfare decision-making process, thus enhancing her civic duties.

13.11  Conclusion The social protection system plays a pivotal role in enhancing healthy human relationships which are a fundamental human right, and this coincides with peace, harmony and sustainable development. The realities of unhealthy human relationships in South Africa stemming from apartheid policies, poverty, food insecurity, vulnerability and a gender hierarchy contribute to a range of internal and external socioeconomic challenges. Social grants provide a needed income to many struggling and vulnerable households. Through these social grants, recipients were able to access health care, produce and provide food and boost family budgeting and planning. The post-1994 policy development context and democratic values have helped in alleviating poverty and enhancing human relations. These policies have made a remarkable change in the lives of women and helped them to channel some of the income to acquire vocational skills. It can be concluded that the social protection system by providing an income to poor households boosts the relationship both at the household level and the community at large.

References African National Congress (ANC). (1955). The Freedom Charter. Kliptown: ANC. Retrieved from African National Congress (ANC). (1994). Reconstruction and development programme: A policy framework. Johannesburg, South Africa: Umanyano. Burkey, S. (1993). People first: A guide to self-reliant participatory rural development. London: Zed Books. Burman, S. (2004). A Comparative study of the impact of Social Assistance on Women before and after 1994 in Proceedings of the Gender and Social Security Seminar. Retrieved from: http:// Chagunda, C. (2006). A Study of state-based social assistance provision and its influence on the Developmental character of the South African State: The case study of the Child Support Grant. (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Chagunda, C. (2014). South Africa’s social assistance intervention as a building block of a developmental state. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Department of Social Development. (DSD). (2002). Transforming the present protecting the future: Report of the Committee of Inquiry into a comprehensive system of social security for South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Social Development. Doxey, G.  V. (1961). The industrial colour bar in South Africa. New  York: Oxford University Press. Gil, D. G. (1992). Unravelling social policy. Vermont, VT: Schenkman Books. Kanbur, R., & Squire, L. (2001). The evolution of thinking about poverty: Exploring the interactions. In G. M. Meire & J. E. Stiglitz (Eds.), Frontiers of development economics: The future in perspective (pp. 183–226). New York: Oxford University Press. Khoza, S. (Ed.). (2007). Socio-economic rights in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape. Liebenberg, S., & Pillay, K. (2000). Socio-economic rights in South Africa: A resource book. Cape Town, South Africa: Community Law Centre of the University of Western Cape. Lund Committee. (1996). Child and family support. Retrieved from govdocs/reports/lund.html?rebookmark=1 Marshall, T. H. (1965). Social policy. London: Hutchinson. Miller, G. (2012). The Socio-Economic Data in the Western Cape. A presentation to the Socio-­ economic Masters class at University of Cape Town. Cape Town, South Africa: Population Unit Social Development. Unpublished. Ministry of Welfare & Population Development. (1997, August 8). White paper for social welfare. Government Gazette, (Vol. 386, No. 18166). Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Mishra, R. (1977). Society and social policy theoretical perspectives on welfare. London: The Macmillan Press. Oakley, P. (Ed.). (1991). Projects with people-the practice of participation in rural development. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Organisation (ILO). Patel, L. (1992). Restructuring social welfare: Options for South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa: Rava Press. Republic of South Africa. (RSA). (1996). Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Samson, M., van Niekerk, I., & MacQuene, K. (2006). Designing and implementing social transfer programmes. Cape Town: EPRI Press. Sen, A (1982). Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. New York: Oxford University Press. Smith, W. J., & Subbarao, K. (2003). What role for safety net transfers in very low-income countries? Retrieved from Taylor, V. (2004). Social security and gender justice. Johannesburg, South Africa: CALS, University of the Witwatersrand. Terreblanche, S. J. (2003). A history of inequality in South Africa. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: University of Natal Press. Titmuss, R. M. (1974). Social policy: An introduction. London: George Allen and Unwin. Turok, B. (2003). Human and People’s rights and Africa’s advancement. New Agenda: South African Journal of Social and Economic Policy. (10). Summer. Visser, W. (2004, September). Shifting RDP into gear: The ANC Government’s dilemma in providing an equitable system of social security for the ‘NEW’ South Africa. 40th ITH Linzer Konferenz, Vienna. Woolard, I., & Leibbrandt, M. (2010). The evolution and impact of unconditional cash transfers in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: SALDRU, University of Cape Town.

Chapter 14

Developmental Social Work Practice and Social Welfare Perspectives in Building Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa Mpumelelo E. Ncube

14.1  Introduction This chapter discusses how developmental social work practice and social welfare perspectives could facilitate the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-­ apartheid South Africa. At the centre of this discussion is the majority African population of South Africa. Even though this majority population is not a single homogenous group in the South African society, the author focuses on their humanity to illustrate how it permeates the values of other race groups in the country as well as ethnic groups from other African countries. To underscore these issues, the author reflects on some of the past and current socio-political events in the country. This chapter also ponders on the role of social workers in fostering healthy human relationships, through decolonised and indigenous practices in South Africa. This chapter is organised in such a way that it brings to the fore the interplay between the social welfare approach, the role of the social work profession and the promotion of healthy human relationships in South Africa. The puzzle to establishing and sustaining healthy human relationships would only be complete if the structural causes for warped human relationships have been addressed. These would include closing the gap of inequality, significant reduction of the unemployment rate and meaningfully addressing the land question. These would be the pillars of a sustainable state of social development, which is a process of planned economic and social development designed to uplift the well-being of the population (Midgley, 1995). As such, social work practitioners need to ensure that while they practice and intervene in the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities, they need to tap into the indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).

M. E. Ncube, PhD (*) Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg (UJ), Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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They should be cognisant of the structural impediments that may render their interventions futile if left unattended. That is to say IKS-informed developmental social work should be pitched at a level that addresses the identified structural issues or be used in collaboration with other decolonised approaches for sustainable establishment of healthy human relations. In its general assembly, the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) approved a new definition of the social work profession. The federation states that: Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance well-being. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels. (IFSW, 2014)

The definition partly reflects a deliberate attempt by the profession to enhance social cohesion and foster people’s well-being. It espouses the overall theme of this book, which hinges on the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa. Furthermore, it is reflective of aspirations of the developmental approach to social welfare, adopted by South Africa in its infancy years of democracy. This theme is approached from a developmental social work practice perspective. In the welfare sector, the inception of the democratic political dispensation led to the adoption of a developmental approach to social welfare, which called for the realignment of the social welfare sector and, by extension, social work services (Ncube, 2019a, 2019b). Consequently, developmental social work, a type of social work informed by a social development approach, became the new look of services offered by social workers in the sector (Ncube, 2019a, 2019b). The approach aligns with calls for decolonised and indigenous practice systems in social work (Gray, 2000).

14.2  South Africa’s Approach to Social Welfare At a time that the world was experiencing challenges relating to social administration as an approach to social welfare, South Africa was simultaneously going through a political transition from the apartheid system. The system was informed by an ideology of white supremacy, such that even social welfare policies had a bias towards the white population as welfare elites (Patel, 1992). An embryonic welfare state was instituted to protect whites against various contingencies. A case in point among others was the Wage Act of 1925, which protected poor whites against competition from blacks in the labour market (Visser, 2004). This ideology led to gross human rights violations, which, among others, included dispossession of land, marginalisation and disintegration of other cultures and languages as well as entrenched patriarchy to the detriment of the majority of citizens. At the same time, while other states faced constraints of declining economic growth in their quest to implement social development, South Africa had a second layer of gross violations of human rights that disintegrated societies at all levels (Patel, 1991, 2013; Visser, 2004).

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In essence, the South African government systematically subjected black people to socio-economic deprivation whose legacy lingers to this day (Sarkin, 1999). Since then, there have been numerous legislative and policy changes in the Republic of South Africa, in line with the ideals of the new political order whose objective, among others, has been to deal with a dual challenge of low economic growth and massive racially configured inequality, poverty (Cassim, 2006) and absence of social cohesion. The transition to a democratic dispensation in 1994 led to a transformed government system based on the principle of constitutional supremacy where everything else cedes to the dictates of the Constitution (Sarkin, 1999). Immediately thereafter, the country adopted a new Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) which continues to be lauded as an intellectually progressive and politically enlightened document (Makoni, 2005). Entrenched in this Constitution is a legislatively enforceable Bill of Rights, which, according to section 7(1), is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa (Brand, 2005; Mokgoro, 1998). It is among other reasons thought out to supress any condition which leads to conflicts that the society emerged from. The Bill of Rights enshrines the rights of all and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom according to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) (1996). This is a legislative commitment to foster social cohesion and stability that could be facilitated through a myriad of other means henceforth. Resulting from these adjustments, the country has had to develop and adopt policies in tandem with the changes in the political landscape. Stemming from these provisions, various policy documents emerged in attempts to achieve the ideals espoused in the Constitution. From the onset, a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) document was formulated and adopted as a broader government strategy of transformation aimed at steering the development and reconstruction of the country towards prosperity for all states the African National Congress (ANC) (1994). Through the RDP, the South African government intended to promote economic growth and, at the same time, raise the standard of living of the country’s impoverished majority (Midgley, 2001). Visser (2004) indicates that the RDP contained elements of social security which, according to Marais (2001), served as an ideological point of reference that confirmed the political-historical continuity between the Freedom Charter and the realities of post-apartheid South Africa. To affirm this point, it can be seen in the five programmatic areas of the RDP that the objectives were to meet the basic needs of the people vis-à-vis socio-economic development (Visser, 2004), develop human resources as a strategic approach to social development (Midgley, 2001), prioritise industrial development as a means to create employment (ANC, 1994), democratise the state and society in a bid to create a culture of broad-based participation (ANC, 1994) and develop a viable programme for implementing the RDP (ANC, 1994). Quintessentially, the RDP policy advocated for the idea of a developmental social welfare or a macro-developmental approach and became the guiding document of government’s actions. While some progress was made, the goal to achieve social welfare for all remained elusive (Midgley, 1995). This situation prompted the South African welfare sector to engage in a transformative process that culminated in a White Paper for Social Welfare


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(1997) which espouses the ideals of the social development approach. In a bid to develop a comprehensive welfare system, multi-stakeholder deliberations ensued, reviewing the country’s welfare system which had evolved under the previous regime (Midgley, 2001; Visser, 2004). This framework envisions a ‘welfare system which facilitates the development of human capacity and self-reliance within a caring and enabling socio-economic environment’ (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997). The document contextualises social welfare and defines it as ‘an integrated and comprehensive system of social services, facilities, programmes and social security to promote social development, social justice and social functioning of people’ (Ministry of Welfare & Population Development, 1997). From this contextualisation, one can deduce the government’s commitment to redressing injustices of the past as well as a desire to uplift people’s quality of life. Furthermore, Midgley (2001) states that the White Paper sought to subvert programmes inherited from the previous apartheid regime; instead, it sought to build a new administrative infrastructure and professional basis for developmental social welfare. Additionally, it sought to introduce innovative programmes that would be in line with its developmental ideals. Visser (2004) notes that both the RDP and the White Paper for Social Welfare (2007) echo the same sentiments and vision on developmental social welfare which are compatible with the social development approach. Essentially, the adoption of the White Paper for Social Welfare in 1997 was the resurrection of the social development approach (Midgley, 2001). Although the goals of the RDP were noble, the document soon drew criticism as they could not be achieved. For example, Midgley (2001) points out that the government was criticised for having been too ambitious, following a string of missed targets amidst lacklustre performance of the economy and pressure from, among others, economists and the South African Reserve Bank. This led to a shift in the government’s approach to development, culminating in a Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) macro-economic strategy. Seen as a conservative macro-economic strategy, GEAR became the new government’s guiding programme (Visser, 2004). However, some of the objectives of this policy were drawn from the RDP as indicated in its four objectives: to develop a competitive fast-growing economy which creates sufficient jobs for all work seekers; a redistribution of income and opportunities in favour of the poor; a society in which sound health, education and other services are available to all; and an environment in which homes are secure and places of work are productive (RSA, 1996). The political discourse began to be largely punctuated by neoliberal sentiments (Khamfula, 2004). The same is echoed by Visser (2004) when he observes that the GEAR policy implied that economic development in South Africa needed to be dominated by the private sector with minimal state intervention. When juxtaposed with the RDP, one can see an immediate contradiction in the two policies as the GEAR policy implicitly called for reduced spending on programmes of social welfare, further creating a future of uncertainty for many vulnerable citizens. Although this criticism has been advanced by many pundits, the evidence on the matter shows increased budgetary allocations to the social development sector at the height of the implementation of GEAR, albeit below inflation (van der Walt, 2000).

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In essence, any increase that is below inflation amounts to a decrease in real spending. The new framework was largely seen as being in direct contrast to the thrust of the RDP as it leaned towards free markets and, as such, drew huge criticisms (Padayachee, 2006). Padayachee (2006) concludes that the strongest criticism came from, among others, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) that perceived the move as a neoliberal agenda. Predominantly, they argued that government muted the notion of social development in favour of economic growth. Hart (2006, p. 13) indicates that the shift to GEAR was a ‘belated replay for the death of Developmentalism which dates back to the ‘80s’. However, the motive for the government stemmed from an understanding that while the social objectives of the RDP needed to be upheld, there had to be an even greater emphasis on economic growth to generate the needed resources to fund them (Reitzes, 2009). Nonetheless, the agitation from various interest groups, particularly those on the left, was more on development, which eventually found space in the policy documents of the ruling party (Padayachee, 2006). Fundamentally, the government began to retreat from a purist, neoliberal approach to the acknowledgement of the first and second economies, which needed an approach that could embrace and benefit both sides of the binary (Hart, 2006). Concerned with a growing economy that could not translate into the projected generation of employment and redistribution of wealth, government had to re-­ strategise by embarking on an extensive consultation process and review of the developmental agenda (Moyo & Mamabolo, 2014). Subsequently, a new policy framework emerged, although with continued emphasis on growth that needed to be equitably shared. The framework was the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA), intended to eliminate the second economy by reducing high margins of inequality (Reitzes, 2009). Gumede (2008) reflects on the existence of socio-economic dualism in South Africa where the first half of the economy is characterised by affluence and global integration, while the second half consists of the marginalised, unemployed and unemployable population. Thus, elimination of the second economy was to be realised by means of halving poverty and unemployment through accelerated economic growth (RSA, 2007). Moyo and Mamabolo (2014) indicate that ‘shared growth’ was the main thrust of AsgiSA. The notion of growth before redistribution was informed by a philosophy that growth leads to job creation, which in turn leads to wealth redistribution (Visser, 2004). Just like GEAR, AsgiSA was criticised for lacking in detail on how its ideals were going to be realised (Moyo & Mamabolo, 2014). In 2007 at an electoral conference, the ANC voted for a new political leadership, a move that saw Thabo Mbeki and his supporters lose control of positions in the party. This marked the end of Mbeki’s tenure after his forced resignation as the State President. The post-Mbeki administration quickly looked beyond AsgiSA in favour of a new policy known as the New Growth Path (NGP), which had much the same goals to deal with microeconomic challenges. Van Aardt and van Tonder (2011) indicate that the new policy aimed at increasing economic growth with a view to creating new employment. In their feasibility study report on the NGP, van Aardt and van Tonder (2011) indicate that South Africa performed poorly on employment creation


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and economic growth in comparison to countries in similar circumstances. They further observe that this was because of conditions created by the government that were not conducive for the attainment of goals of the NGP (van Aardt & van Tonder, 2011). In effect, the levels of economic growth achieved still could not translate into the reduction of unemployment and inequality. As such, the ideals of a developmental approach were once again being undermined by the prevailing circumstances. The National Development Plan (NDP) (2011) which is a long-term strategic plan for economic development with a focus on poverty reduction, economic growth, economic transformation and job creation (National Planning Commission, 2011) succeeded the NGP. This shift in policy is in line with Moyo and Mamabolo’s (2014) definition of ‘development planning’ which they say implies a greater role for the state in short-, medium- and long-term planning with the hope of achieving economic growth that will translate into social development. As indicated previously, the NDP comes after a string of other plans since the inception of the new democratic dispensation, which arguably failed to realise the complete set of ideals they had set out to achieve. Moyo and Mamabolo (2014) argue that the emergence of developmental planning in South Africa and other African countries was driven by the failure of markets to singularly eradicate poverty and spur human development without a dose of state intervention. They argue that development planning calls for the use of state policies to advocate economic growth while simultaneously achieving development (Moyo & Mamabolo, 2014). While the NDP is a product of widespread consultation that took place in 2011 (National Planning Commission, 2011), Moyo and Mamabolo (2014) indicate that the failure of the document to explicitly indicate how structural causes of inequality and poverty will be dealt with discredits the plan. Nonetheless, the plan makes a commitment to: • • • • • •

Build a united country. Resolve historical injustices. Uplift the quality of life of all South Africans. Accelerate social and economic change. Eradicate poverty and unemployment and reduce inequality. Expand the economy and distribute its benefits equitably (National Planning Commission, 2011).

These policy changes and national priorities, as expressed in various policy documents, have influenced the provision of services by all sectors. The NDP in particular calls for all sectors to be role players towards the realisation of its goals (National Planning Commission, 2011). The social service sector under which the social work profession falls has had to adapt to every adopted policy in relation to service provision. Following the adoption of the NDP, the Republic of South Africa (2013) made a commitment in its Framework for Social Welfare Services where it purports to ‘facilitate/guide the implementation of a comprehensive, integrated, rights-based, well-resourced and quality developmental social welfare services’ (p. 9). This commitment is in line with the objectives of the NDP which also amplify the aspirations of the White Paper (1997) that are reflective of a social development approach. In its 20-year review publication, the government of South Africa asserts:

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One of the most active arenas of change has been to shift the programmes of the state towards the reconstruction and development of our country, with a particular focus on the poor and marginalised – to eliminate poverty and provide access to housing, water, electricity, sanitation, education, health and social protection support to the millions deprived of these basic rights under apartheid (RSA, 2014, p. 3). This reflects an understanding that a clearly defined vision is essential to transform South Africa. All the foregoing issues serve as the background to South Africa’s adoption of the social development approach. However, of essence to this chapter is how the welfare policies at any given time (should at least) resonate with the need to build social cohesion amongst the peoples of this country. Evidently, the NDP puts as its priority the need to build a united country and resolve historical injustices. From the social work perspective, the materialisation of these priorities is dependent on the responsive social work practice systems, which in principle should be indigenous and decolonised.

14.3  D  ecolonised and Indigenous Social Work Practice Systems in Building Healthy Human Relationships The national imperatives as may be reflected in the welfare frameworks outlined above or development plans should foreground approaches to social work service delivery. Conversely, social work practice systems should of necessity resonate with contextual detects that in any case ought to be in keeping with the profession’s values. As indicated earlier, South Africa transitioned from a racially biased system of governance and service delivery that disenfranchised the majority of the population (Ngcukaitobi, 2018). While the system alienated people, the majority black, from their traditional practice systems of survival and identity, it equally created animosity between peoples of various racial backgrounds, particularly blacks and whites. From this time forth, these divides created the contextual tenets within which social work practices are applied and to which the profession has to respond. Although the social work profession may historically have been complicit in the segregationally practices entrenched in the apartheid South Africa (Smith, 2014), a concerted effort to realign it with the detects of the changing times was generated. Webb (2003) further noted the globalisation of social work practices which in effect were disharmonious with the local realities. Consequently, the South African chapter of the social work profession evolved to simultaneously adopt the global agenda while adapting to the local realities. The global agenda focused on macro-social issues, namely, migration, social justice, economy and climate change, among others. On the other hand, local realities engrossed issues at micro and mezzo levels of practice, these included issues such as social justice, inequality, poverty, historical trauma, social security and rebuilding communities ravaged by colonialism and apartheid (Alexander, n.d.). The efforts were equally meant to establish a base for rebuilding sound social relations amongst people of diverse backgrounds. Some of the groupings had over time grown to be sworn enemies over what seemed to be


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irreconcilable differences. It is these differences that to this day, and to a larger extent, characterise the social outlook of the South African populace, with depreciatory effect on building and sustaining healthy human relationships. Endeavours to build healthy human relationships lie primarily with the people concerned. This happens within the prevailing circumstances in their contexts. While some circumstances within a given context may facilitate healthy human relationships, others may be inhibitors. In a case where inhibiting factors dominate the environment, healthy relationships are suppressed which in turn creates a wave of negativity on the well-being of the affected people such that the social system cannot self-correct. In many instances, this situation gives rise to the need for the social work profession, as a catalyst towards healthy human relationships. The profession is intent on numerous aspects of human life that include promoting social change and development and social cohesion informed by respect for diversities as central to social work. In the past, some scholars reflected on the initial heavy reliance of social work on psychoanalysis, residual and curative welfare approaches (Midgley, 2001; Turton, 2019; Van Breda, 2015). While these approaches can never lose relevance, especially on clinically oriented challenges, they are not inclusive of all social problems affecting service users from different backgrounds. In her argument, Turton (2019) evokes the need for indigenous solutions to deal with most social problems faced by communities in South Africa. This is a call to adopt developmental social work to effectively respond to presenting social problems of service users. For relevance, the developmental social work approach should be reflective of cultural, race, gender, political, religious and social competencies, lest they be rendered inept and incompatible with the social development agenda. Gray (2005) argues that culture should, in all earnest, be viewed as catalytic to indigenisation of social work interventions. In this way, the interventions would be contextualised and respond more effectively to the presenting social problems at local levels. As explicated earlier, some of the social challenges affecting healthy human relationships in the South African context have been racial divisions, poverty, unemployment and crime. These challenges are largely attributed to apartheid, an era of separate development that disenfranchised the majority of the citizens in South Africa (Mtshali, Raniga & Khan, 2014). Thus, the developmental social work approach should be developed and adapted to respond to these challenges by harnessing local and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS). Nonetheless, IKS approach was, seemingly, omitted in the current social welfare legal frameworks (Mtshali, Raniga & Khan, 2014). The proposition for IKS is underpinned by a belief that addressing the root causes of poor human relations would directly advance the cause for healthy human relations. As such, through IKS, wisdom can be drawn from the manner in which communities were structured in the precolonial era beginning with families as basic units of societies. This wisdom would seek to elucidate how issues of poverty, crime and inequality were dealt with. Nonetheless, over the course of history, various functions of the family, namely, economic, production and existential unit, have significantly been altered (Fleiner & Fleiner, 2006) and indirectly affecting relationships of not only family members but the society as a whole.

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On the other hand, while indigenous strategies may be pivotal in redressing the afore-mentioned challenges, they may, at the same time, be inadequate in dealing with the crisis emanating from the modern-day socio-economic and political setup. These are largely as a result of the interwoven global order that permeates through local contexts. As such, a mixture of indigenous knowledge systems with those approaches with global significance, as a holistic approach of social work interventions, would be of import in effectively addressing the challenges that affect healthy human relations in general. While, at a local context, an IKS-informed development social work approach would be of relevance, modernised global approaches would fittingly respond to global influences affecting the local contexts in what could be understood as globalisation. The question lies on what best can social work approaches glean from general traditions, values, mores, attitudes and patterns of socialisation to create healthy human relations that could in turn facilitate social development in both local and global contexts.

14.4  Conclusion This chapter discussed how developmental social work practice and social welfare perspectives could facilitate the promotion of healthy human relationships in post-­ apartheid South Africa. Social welfare in South Africa was used to contextualise the arguments. The discussion brought into focus the need to use developmental social work in conjunction with indigenous knowledge systems to tap into cultural norms, socialisation and social mores in building health human relations. Nonetheless, the author concluded that the sustainability of established healthy human relationships is incumbent on the extent to which the social work profession addresses the structural challenges that he argues are the root causes of disharmonised relationships.

References African National Congress (ANC). (1994). The reconstruction and development programme. Johannesburg, South Africa: Umanyano Publications. Alexander, N. (n.d.) African history and the struggle to decolonise Africa. Centre for Education Rights and Transformation: University of Johannesburg. Cassim, R. (2006). Reflections on South Africa’s first wave of economic reforms. In V. Padayachee (Ed.), The development decade? Economic and social change in South Africa, 1994–2004 (pp. 55–85). Cape Town, South Africa: Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press. Fleiner, T., & Fleiner, L. B. (2006). Constitutional democracy in a multicultural and globalised world. Verlag Berlin Heiderlberg: Springer. Gray, M. (2000). Social work and the ‘social service professions. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 36(1), 99–109. Gumede, V. (2008). Public policy making in a post-apartheid South Africa: A preliminary perspective. Africanus, 38(2), 7–23.


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International Federation of Social Wok (IFSW). (2014). Global Definition of the Social Work Profession. Retrieved from global-definition-of-social-work/ Hart, G. (2006). Post-apartheid developments in historical and comparative perspective. In V. Padayachee (Ed.), The development decade? Economic and social change in South Africa, 1994-2004. Cape Town, South Africa: Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Press. Khamfula, Y. (2004). Macroeconomic policies, shocks and economic growth in South Africa. Unpublished. Makoni, S. (2005). From misinvention to disinvention of language: Multilingualism and the South African constitution. In S. Makoni, G. Smitherman, A. F. Ball, & A. K. Spears (Eds.), Black linguistics: Language, society and politics in Africa and the Americas (pp. 132–149). New York: Routledge. Marais, H. (2001). South Africa. Limits to change. The political economy of transition. London: Zed Books, Ltd.. Midgley, J. (2001). South Africa: The challenge of social development. International Journal of Social Welfare, 10(4), 267–275. Midgley, J. (1995). Social development: The developmental perspective in social welfare. London: Sage Publications. Ministry of Welfare & Population Development. (1997, August 8). White paper for social welfare. Government Gazette (Vol. 386, No. 18166). Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Mokgoro, J. Y. (1998). Ubuntu and the law in South Africa. Retrieved from: index.php/pelj/article/view/43567/27090 Moyo, T., & Mamabolo, M. (2014). The National Development Plan (NDP): A comparative analysis with the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) programme and the Accelerated and Shared-Growth Initiative (ASGISA). Journal of Public Administration, 49(3), 946–959. Mtshali, M. N. G., Raniga, T., & Khan, S. (2014). Indigenous knowledge systems, poverty alleviation and sustainability of community-based projects in the Inanda region in Durban, South Africa. Stud Tribes Tribals, 12(2), 187–199. National Planning Commission (NPC). (2011). National Development Plan 2030. Pretoria, South Africa: NPC. Ngcukaitobi, T. (2018). The land is ours: South Africa’s first black lawyers and the birth of constitutionalism. Cape Town, South Africa: Penguin Books. Ncube, M. E. (2019a). Conceptualising social development supervision in social work. The Indian Journal of Social Work, 79(1), 31–46. Ncube, M.  E. (2019b). A process model of social development supervision in social work. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development, 31(2). https://doi. org/10.25159/2415-5829/4960 Padayachee, V. (ed). (2006). The development decade? Economic and social change in South Africa, 1994-2004. Cape Town: HSRC Press. Patel, L. (2013). Social welfare & social development in South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Oxford University Press Southern Africa. Patel, L. (1992). Restructuring social welfare. Options for South Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa: Ravan Press. Patel, L. (1991). Social welfare options for South Africa. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Reitzes, M. (2009). The impact of democracy on development: The case of South Africa. Retrieved from: Republic of South Africa (RSA). (2007). ASGISA: Annual report. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Republic of South Africa (RSA). (1996). Constitution of the Republic of South Africa no. 108 of 1996. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printers.

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Republic of South Africa (RSA). (2014). 20 year review South Africa: 1994–2014. Pretoria, South Africa: Department of Local Government. Sarkin, J. (1999). The drafting of South Africa’s final constitution from a human rights perspective. The American Journal of Comparative Law, 47(1), 67–87. Smith, L. (2014). Historiography of South African social work: Challenging dominant discourses. Social Work, 50(2), 305–331. Turton, Y. (2019). Decolonisation and indigenisation of social work: An imperative for holistic social work services to vulnerable communities in South Africa. In T.  Kleibl, R.  Lutz, N. Noyoo, B. Bunk, A. Dittmann, & B. Seepamore (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of postcolonial social work. New York: Routledge. van Aardt, C. J., & van Tonder, J. (2011). Broad review of the New Growth Path Framework with a specific emphasis on the feasibility of its proposed targets. Pretoria, South Africa: University of South Africa (UNISA). Van Breda, A. (2015). Developmental social casework: A process model. International Social Work, 61(1), 66–78. van der Walt, L. (2000). Gear vs social welfare. SA Labour Bulletin, 24(3), 71–75. Visser, W. (2004, September). Shifting RDP into Gear: The ANC Government’s dilemma in providing an equitable system of social security for the ‘NEW’ South Africa. 40th ITH Linzer Konferenz, Vienna. Webb, A. (2003). Local orders and global Chaos in social work. European Journal of Social Work, 6(2), 191–204.

Part V

Future Prospects for Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in South Africa

Chapter 15

Conclusion Ndangwa Noyoo

By 2019, South Africa’s democracy had been tested, moulded and reshaped in a free and competitive atmosphere. All the old racist and draconian laws were repealed and replaced with democratic ones. The country had undergone an almost cathartic experience of expunging old ways and habits of doing things – with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) serving as one of the key vehicles for this. This was 25 years later, after the historical elections of 27 April 1994, which ushered in the new democratic era. Several national and local government elections would follow this, and to all accounts, they were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. Many other positive developments unfolded during this period, especially in the political realm. For instance, the first African and democratically elected president of the country, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, had completed his first term, as the leader of a new South Africa, and had refused to serve a second term. This was one of the rare and few cases where an African president relinquished power and amicably so. It was unlike most African leaders who clung to power and in the process flouted their countries’ Constitutions and abused their people. Mandela had passed the baton to an able leader, Thabo Mbeki, in 1999. However, he did not complete his second term, shy of 7 months. He would be succeeded by Jacob Zuma (after Kgalema Motlanthe served as a ‘caretaker’ president, between September 2008 and May 2009) who also did complete his second term after he stepped down in 2018. Thereafter, Cyril Ramaphosa took over as president, and he is still the leader of South Africa. This snapshot of the democratic transition and the succession of presidents reveals quite a bumpy political process that was not seamless. This situation can be extrapolated to the rest of the country. In this regard, the country’s human relationships mirror this state of flux and, at times, uncertainties, which are prevalent in different sections of the country. It can N. Noyoo (*) Department of Social Development, University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,



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be observed that one key issue that had hamstrung the democratic transition was the inherited colonial and apartheid baggage, which is quite omnipresent in a democratic South Africa. This was represented and continues to be exemplified by various social ills and injustices that  strongly manifest themselves in a democratic dispensation, despite the country having a progressive Constitution, public policies and legislation. Attitudes, mores, values, mindsets and patterns of interaction in some quarters were and still resonating with those of the past systems. Among others, inequality and poverty are the most prominent and perverse socio-economic challenges bedevilling efforts by the government to transform and develop the country. Turok (2008) informs us that the democratic state inherited one of the most distorted socio-economic structures in the world, which was polarised by apartheid into black and white, privileged and oppressed. That some people have escaped from each category does not diminish the structural character of the divide. Inequality, especially economic inequality, diminishes the ability of the government to redistribute the country’s resources to the rest of the society. This is due to the way it was shaped and patterned in previous decades: Economic power was highly concentrated. In the mid-1990s, four large corporations controlled 81% of share capital, 20 families held shares worth R 10.7 billion, 87% of the land was owned by whites or white-controlled agri-corporations like Sappi and Mondi; 80% of the country’s wealth was owned by 5% of the people. As to income inequalities, white people earned nine times as much as Africans, 6000 people earned over R250,000 a year (1990), 86% of the population altogether earned only 40% of available income, 50% lived below the poverty line and 40% had no jobs in the waged economy. (Turok, 1994 as cited by Turok, 2008, pp. 111–112)

This history of racial privilege haunts South Africa to this day and greatly impinges upon its human relationships. In this vein, the promotion of healthy human relationships becomes quite difficult in a highly unequal society such as South Africa. In the main, human relationships are compounded by exploitative relations especially between the owners of capital and the working class. To this end, the migrant labour system, which was created during colonialism and cemented during apartheid rule, continues to reinforce the destabilisation and fragmentation of the African family, as some authors in this text rightly argue. It is therefore important to note that: Colonial conquest and exploitation weakened the African family on two key fronts. Firstly, enforced labour migration compelled families to live apart. Secondly, the policies, laws and practices were aimed at impoverishing African families, which also had dire long-term consequences for them. The Native Land Act of 1913 was passed, for example, and henceforth became the cornerstone of all forms of forced removals that targeted African people and, to a lesser extent, Indians and Coloureds. Race also became a very effective tool to exclude and marginalise Africans from all life opportunities. Their sole purpose was seen to be that of labourers (i.e. labour inputs) for the colonial and apartheid capitalist economy. With time, other laws were passed in order to keep Africans in impoverished and economically unviable geographic locations with little or no employment opportunities. (Department of Social Development, 2011, pp. 25–26)

Crucially, it must be pointed out that the democratic transition was characterised, in some respects, by false starts which resulted in serious mistakes which were made

15 Conclusion


by certain political actors and organs of civil society. In the political realm, corruption created a murky culture of unaccountability and concern for only self-­ enrichment. Public servants became complicit to the pillaging and plundering of national finances. This situation marred healthy human relationships in the country and cast a dark cloud over the governing party, the African National Congress (ANC). This party’s bona fides were called into question by many South Africans. This was during the period when Jacob Zuma was president, from 9 May 2009 to 14 February 2018. Therefore, the democratic transition was not always a rosy picture, but it had flaws. From the aforementioned issues, one issue stands out: healthy human relationships are crucial for the building of a better South Africa. They serve as the glue of this nation with such a troubled past. Therefore, all role players, from the government, organs of civil society, Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs), traditional leaders, academics and social service professionals have to be invested in the tasks of enhancing, strengthening and nurturing healthy human relationships in South Africa. Many of the social ills and various conflicts across the country, be they at the workplace, in homes or schools, are symptomatic of unhealthy relationships in the country. Lately, there has been a rise in deaths, murders and violent acts on school premises across South Africa. The main perpetrators of such heinous crimes are learners. This worrisome trend is symptomatic of a serious underlying deficit across the country. The former, also points to unhealthy human relationships in schools and the country at large. This social problem requires social workers and social development actors to provide workable and lasting solutions to the country. This book set out to discuss healthy human relationships in post-apartheid South Africa while anchoring this issue on social work and social development theories and approaches. This theme resonates with the world social work theme of 2019. The authors of the various chapters had explored healthy human relationships while relying on bodies of knowledge of social work and social development. In their expositions, the authors examined the post-1994 democratic socio-political and economic dispensation. In this regard, they addressed themselves to the contemporary realities which either define the social landscape of South Africa, and the historical context, which gave birth to some of the negative forces that continue to impinge upon human relationships in South Africa. The authors, being social work and social development academics, were able to bring to the centre stage of South Africa’s post-colonial and post-apartheid development trajectory the issue of healthy human relationships. They were able to show progress in particular areas of the country and also argued that, in certain instances, a lot of work still remained to be done. In all the chapters, it was clear to discern a strong historical narrative. This is evident in the analyses that present backdrops to the country’s policies, legislation and other mechanisms aimed at raising the quality of life of vulnerable citizens. The country’s historical past of colonialism and apartheid was highlighted as influencing most present-day processes and especially human relationships. In ending this section of the book, it is important to soberly reflect on the health crisis that has besieged the world while threatening humanity and healthy human relationships, like never before. Already, close to 600,000 people are infected, and


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global fatalities have exceeded 27,000 (Aljazeera, 2020). Perhaps South Africa faces one of its greatest challenges in its history with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the president of the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, remarked when he announced a country-wide 21-day lockdown. The country’s leadership and national resolve will be tested, while human relationships will be tried. Already, social workers are being called to step forward and provide their unique skills and know-how to the country’s challenges, as it begins this battle with the pandemic and its ramifications. It goes without saying that the fight against this pandemic must be a national and collective effort that transcends all the fissures of this highly unequal society. All must come together and help the country overcome this existential threat to its people and the democratic order. This is the time for the true spirit of Ubuntu to be exhibited by all South Africans and for it to shine through all their endeavours.

References Ajazeera. (2020). Global cases top 600,000; Spain deaths surge: Coronavirus updates. Retrieved from Department of Social Development (DSD). (2011). Green paper on families: Promoting family life and strengthening families in South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa: Government Printer. Turok, B. (2008). From the freedom charter to Polokwane: The evolution of ANC economic policy. Cape Town, South Africa: New Agenda.


A Abolition of Racially Based Land Measures Act of 1991, 6 Absent biological fathers, 160–162, 168 Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA), 175 Affirmative action policies, 40 African National Congress (ANC), 6–8, 53, 54, 101, 186, 217 African Union (AU), 13 Afrikaans National Party (NP), 129 Ant-discriminatory practices model, 122 Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), 149 Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions (ASASWEI), 14 Asylum seekers and refugees, 49 B Bantu Authorities Act of 1951, 39 Bill of Rights, 101, 111, 132, 176 Bonding capital, 149 Burial society, 152 C Capitalism, 42 Capitalist imperialism, 28 Caregiver–child relationships, 91–93 Cemented during apartheid rule, 216 Central Business District (CBD), 71 Child and family assessment, 137 Child development, 131 Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, 158

Child Support Grant (CSG), 181, 182, 193 Child welfare, 152 Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005, 92 Civil Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924, 130 Colonial and apartheid societies, 27 Colonialism, 5, 6, 8, 102, 216, 217 Colonisation, 3, 5 Commission for Gender Equality (CGE), 176 Communities African population, 146 association (see Formal and informal associations, communities) change agent, 147 cultural values, 154 definition, 145 development interventions, 143, 154 functional, 145 macro practice intervention, 147 macro social work, 147, 149 macro social workers, 144, 146 multiculturalism, 146 non-governmental organisations, 146 private sector institutions, 146 relationship building, 144–146 relationship theories, 144 SACSSP, 146 social capital, 143, 148, 149, 154 social challenges, 144 social issues, 144 social relations, 148 social welfare, 143 social work, 143, 144, 146 South African ethical code, 146 trust, 145 ubuntu, 144, 147

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 N. Noyoo (ed.), Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa,


220 Communities (cont.) virtual, 145, 153 well-being, 146 Community Based Organisations (CBOs), 151 Community-based rehabilitation model (CBRM), 112, 117, 118 components, 117 education, 117 empowerment, 118 health, 117, 118 prevention, 117 promotion, 117 PWD, 117 skills development, 117 small business development, 117 social aspects, 118 social security programmes, 118 Community-based strategies, 166 Community development apartheid, 149 association (see Formal and informal associations, communities) healthy human relationships, 144 interventions, 143 macro social work, 149 macro social workers, 146 relationship building, 144 social capital, 143, 147, 148 social relations, 148 social worker, 149 Community development programme, 115 Community health-care workers, 122 Community mediations, 167 Comparative analysis African-American beneficiaries, 24 behaviour attitudes, 25 plantation, 26 Conflicts and death, 69 Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), 205 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, 7 Constitutional democracy, 8 Coronavirus (COVID-19), 13, 173, 218 Critical social workers, 38 empowerment, 38, 39 government programmes and campaigns, 40 in South Africa, 40 women and children, 39 Cultural competence, 76 Cultural identities, 160, 162 Cultural practices, 37

Index D Decolonisation, 11 Definitional issues asylum seeker, 69 sub-Saharan Africa, 70 Democracy, 21 Democratic approach, 84 Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 72 Department of Education (DoE), 112 Department of Social Development (DSD), 181 Department of Social Welfare (DSW), 186 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 166 Development interventions, 151 Developmental social work, 159, 160, 164, 165 Dysfunctional families, 129 E Early Childhood Development (ECD), 173 Ecological theory, 135 Economic associations, 150 Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), 26, 30 Ecosystem theory, 158 Elderly abuse, 100 Elderly population growth, 100 Emotional attachment, 86 Empathy, 88 Employment Equity Act, 115, 117 Empowerment, 61 Entitlements refugee, 51 Extended families, 4 F Face-to-face interactions, 44 Faith-Based Organisations (FBO), 217 Family-centred strategies, 166 Family group conferencing (FGC), 166, 167 Family life, 181 Family programmes, 136 Family promotion African family structure, 126, 127 apartheid system, 6, 102, 126, 216, 217 ATM fathers, 131 child-headed households, 131 children, 126, 130, 131 concept, 126 definition, 126, 127 education, 132 family members, 126 functions, 128, 129

Index Green Paper, 127 legislation, 128 orphaned children, 131 policies, 128 polygamous marriages, 127 poverty, 131 rights of black workers, 130 rigorous communities, 125 society, 125 South African government, 126 structure, 125, 127 trauma, 125, 129, 130 violence, 125, 128 women, 126 youth unemployment, 132 Family strengthening Bill of Rights, 132 community, 133 economic development, 133 policies, 132 rights-based approach, 132 social assistance, 134 social development, 133 social rights, 133 social wage, 133, 134 social welfare, 132 social workers, 137, 138 South African government, 132 traumatised societies, 134, 136 White Paper, 134 Family Stress Model, 135 Female Headed Households (FHHs), 102 Formal and informal associations, communities ABCD, 150 burial society, 152 CBOs, 151 child welfare, 152 development, 150 development interventions, 151 economic, 150 intrinsic values, 153 recreational, 150 religious, 150 social capital, 150, 151, 153 social issues, 152 social relationships, 151, 153 social workers, 150 UManyano, 152 Zimunyu, 152 Foster Care Grant (FCG), 190 Fostering healthy relationships, 122 Fourth Industrial Revolution, 84 Functional community, 145

221 G Gang violence, 167 Gender-based violence (GBV) campaigns, 40 colonial and apartheid history, 36 exploitation, 37 feminist view, 36 interviewing and counselling skills, 40 poverty, 37 powerlessness, 37 pregnancies, 37 social action, 38 therapeutic process, 41 violence, 38 Gender socialisation, 128 Geographic community, 145 Gerontology, 100 Government Communications and Information System (GCIS), 4 Government of National Unity (GNU), 8 Green Paper for Families, 181 Group Areas Act, 53 Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), 175 Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) macro-economic strategy, 204 H Healthy coping mechanisms, 45 Healthy development, 83 Healthy human relationships, 22, 41, 49, 61, 71 challenges and barriers, 89–91 characteristics, South Africa pre-/post society, 186–188 child’s mental health, 86 children, 83, 84, 86–88 children experience, 86 children’s well-being, 85 colonialism, 8 communication, 89 communities, 84 community level (see Communities) defining, 185 demographic profile, 67 diverse range of people, 94 diversity, 94, 95 economic growth, 68 emotions and behaviours, 87 fertility rate, 68 formal and informal economies, 69 Freedom Charter/RDP, 189 gratitude and appreciation, 88


222 Healthy human relationships (cont.) higher economic growth, 68 households, 197, 198 inter-departmental task team, 193 legislation, children, 85 legislative approach, 84 NEET, 68 nurturing relationships, 86 older persons (see Older persons) parents/caregivers, 87 policy instruments, 188 population, 67 post-apartheid, 217 post-apartheid South Africa, 7, 14, 15 pre-colonial South Africa, 4 secure attachment, 87 social beings, 85 social development, 12 social inclusion/social protection system, 191, 192 social skills, 87 socio-economic conditions, 68 South Africa, 7, 8, 14 South Africa’s well-being, 5 South African households, 68 state-led assistance, 190, 191 sub-Saharan immigrants, 15, 67 Taylor Committee, 193 Women’s access, food, 194–196 Healthy human relationships sub-Saharan African refugees, 15 Help Age International (HAI), 100 Historically Black Universities (HBUs), 29 Historically White Universities (HWUs), 30 Home-Based Care (HBC), 105 Housing, 104, 105 I Immigrant populations, 70 Immigration Act of 2002, 51 Immigration Amendment Act 12, 50 Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), 176 Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), 177 Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), 176 Indigenous knowledge, 121 Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS), 4, 201 Indigenous social systems, 44 Indigenous social welfare systems, 4 Individual values, 159 Inequality, 9, 10 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), 54 Institutionalisation, 105

Integrated National Disability Strategy, 1998, 114 International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), 10 International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), 10, 41, 202 J Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), 175 K Kantian Ethics, 62 L Land dispossession, 54 Legislation AG, 176 Bill of Rights, 176 CGE, 176 constitution, 176 CSG, 181, 182 IBA, 176 ICD, 177 IEC, 176 NA, 176 NCOP, 176 old age pension, 180, 181 Public Protector, 176 Rights-Based Approach, 176 SAHRC, 176 South Africa, 176 M Macro-economic policies, 101, 134 Macro practice social work communities (see Communities) community development, 146, 150 community well-being, 146 functional community, 145 geographic community, 145 intervention, 147 model, 149 social workers, 150 Magubane’s analysis, 29 Marginalisation, 37 Maritime trade, 27 Mass Democratic Movement (MDM), 8 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), 174

Index Mental health interventions, 74, 75 Migration, 74 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 175 Mixed Marriages Act, 53 Multiculturalism, 146 Multidisciplinary teams, 137 Multi-modal interventions, 165 N National Assembly (NA), 176 National Association of Social Workers (NASW), 31 National Council of Provinces (NCOP), 176 National Development Plan (NDP), 173, 175, 206 National Party (NP), 53 National Planning Commission (NPC), 115, 175 National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), 166 National Youth Policy 2009-2014, 157 Natives Land Act of 1913, 6 Negotiation, 84 New Growth Path (NGP), 175, 205 Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), 39, 42 Non-profit organisations (NPOs), 102, 107 Nurturing, 86, 90 Nurturing relationships, 86 O Office of the Health Ombud (OHO), 105 Old Age Grant (Pension), 180, 181 Older persons African traditional values, 103 apartheid, 102 benevolent human relationships, 100 broken families, South Africa, 102 climate change, 103 collaborative relationships, 107 colonialism, 102 community partnerships, 103 economic situation, 103 elderly abuse, 100 elderly population growth, 100 families, 106 FHHs, 102 gerontology, 100 healthy human relationships, 103 housing, 104, 105 income, 103 NPOs, 107

223 policy, 100 poverty, 100, 102, 106 SAHRC, 103 senior citizens, 99, 103 social care, 106 social re-engineering, 100 social workers, 107 South African Older Persons’ Act, 99 White Paper, 106 witchcraft, 103 Older Persons Act, 2006, 102, 105 P Parent and family education programmes, 136 People with disabilities (PWD) acceptance, 122 apartheid, 111 Bill of Rights, 111 CBRM, 112, 117, 118 challenges, 119, 120 community development programme, 115 dignity, 122 DoE, 112 Employment Equity Act, 115 family members, 121 fostering healthy relationships, 122 handicapped, 116 homes, 120 impairment, 115, 116 indigenous knowledge, 121 indigenous practices, 121 Integrated National Disability Strategy, 1998, 114 legislation, 119 limitations, 116 policy documents, 119 Policy on Disability, 114 post-apartheid South Africa, 112, 119 social model of disability, 112, 118, 119 social security programmes, 114 social welfare programmes, 114 South Africa, 111, 115 South African Constitution, 1996, 112, 113 South African television network, 120 statistical overview, 112 White Paper, 113 Personal development, 62 Policies, 111, 113, 115, 118–120, 122, 123 Policy on Disability, 114, 115 Polygamous marriages, 127 Poor human relationships, 91 Population movements, 71 Population Registration Act, 85


224 Post-apartheid political economy, 28 Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 43, 75 Poverty, 10, 106, 125, 131, 134 Poverty-reduction, 165, 166 Poverty-stricken communities, 88 Pre-colonial human relationships, 4, 5 Pre-colonial period, 58 Primary caregivers, 88 Primary values, 159 Probation Services Act 116 of 1996, 165 Process values, 159 Promotion, 117 Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), 31 Public policy, 134, 135 Public Protector, 176 Public social security pensions, 180 R Racism, 8 capitalist development, 28 colonial, 22 definition, 23, 24 European nations, 27 grave inequalities, 29 human groups, 23 human relationship, 21, 23 nomenclature, 24 pigmentation and population group, 23 policy-makers and practitioners, 21 social advantage and economic domination, 23 South Africa, 22, 27, 28 television interview, 22 USA’s race relations, 24 VOC, 27 Rainbow Nation, 26 Reconciliation, 21, 22 Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), 9, 101, 175, 189, 203 Recreational associations, 150 Redistribution, 101 Refugees Act of 1998, 51, 57 Refugees and asylum seekers attacks, 56 employment, 56 xenophobia, 57 xenophobic attacks, 56 Regional Economic Communities, 13 Religious associations, 150 Republic of South Africa (RSA), 6, 101 Residential Care Facilities (RCFs), 105

Responsive care, 86, 90, 93 Restorative justice, 158, 159 Restorative practice, 166, 167 Rights-based approach, 132, 176 S Senior citizens, 99, 102, 103, 105 Skills development, 117 Small business development, 117 Social assistance, 134 Social capital, 60 bonding, 149 CBOs, 151 community development, 143, 147, 148 development interventions, 151 informal and formal associations, 153, 154 social relationships, 143, 148, 154 Social care, 106 Social cohesion, 50, 76 Social development, 133, 137 ANC, 101 Bill of Rights, 101 civil society formations, 11 definitions, 11 governments, 11 healthy human relationships, 101 human relationships, 12, 14, 16, 17 older persons (see Older persons) RDP, 101 redistribution, 101 rights-based approach, 101 social and economic dimensions, 11 social welfare, 101 South Africa, 101 vulnerable populations, 101 Social development approach, 114 Social inclusion, 74 Social media, 22 Social model of disability, 112, 114, 118, 119 Social policy, 137 equality, 177 functions, 177 GEAR, 175 healthy human relationships, 177 (see also Legislation) NGP, 175 NPC, 175 redistribution, income, 177 South Africa, 175 Social protection, 16, 179 Social protection system, 188, 198 Social reality and relationships, 72 Social relationships, 43

Index Social security public social security pensions, 180 social protection, 179 Social security programmes, 114, 118 Social wage, 133, 134, 174 Social welfare, 101, 132, 143 cash transfers, 174 family, 178 human well-being, 178 institutional character, 178 policy-making process, 179 practice, 179 programmes, 178 social development, 174 social relief, 174 social wage, 174 social work, 178 social workers, 179 society, 178 South Africa, 174 welfare provision, 178 White Paper, 174 Social welfare programm, 114 Social welfare systems, 4, 5 Social work communities, 144 community development interventions, 154 decolonisation, 11 definition, 10 healthy families, 16 healthy human relationships, 12, 14, 16, 17 human service, 144 macro practice, 145 macro social work, 149 practice-based profession, 10 relationship theories, 144 South African ethical code, 146 theories, 158 training, 11 value-based profession, 144, 146 welfare organisations, 11 White Paper, 164 youth gangs (see Youth gangs) Social work and social development post-colonial and post-apartheid development, 217 theories and approaches, 217 Social work interventions, 44, 45 Social work involvement, 74 Social work practice, 46 Social work practice/social welfare apartheid system, 202 Bill of Rights, 203 constitutional supremacy, 203

225 framework, 204 GEAR, 204 healthy human relationships, 201, 202, 207–209 IFSW, 202 inequality and poverty, 206 NDP, 206 NGP, 205 RDP, 203, 205 socio-economic dualism, 205 Social work’s response anti-oppressive practices, 73 immigrants, 73 Social workers, 31, 43, 45, 76, 107, 137, 138, 149, 167 Social-emotional competencies, 86 Socialisation process, 128 Socio-economic freedom, 54 Socio-economic instability, 49 Socio-economic situation, 53 South Africa ANC, 7 apartheid project, 6 ASASWEI, 14 colonial invention, 3 colonialism, 5, 6 colonisation, 3, 5 community development, 16 Constitutional democracy, 8 COVID-19, 13 economy, 9 GCIS, 4 healthy human relationships (see Healthy human relationships) history, 5, 6 IKS, 4 independent institutions, 9 indigenous people, 3 inequality, 9, 10 internal colonialism, 6 Iron Age culture, 4 MDM, 8 Natives Land Act of 1913, 6 non-poor, 10 non-racial society, 8 older persons (see Older persons) people-to-people interactions, 15 population, 10 post-apartheid development, 10 poverty, 10 pre-colonial human relationships, 4, 5 racism, 8, 15 RDP, 9 SDGs, 13


226 South Africa (cont.) self-reliance, 13 social development (see Social development) social welfare systems, 4, 5 sub-Saharan immigrants, 15 transient poor, 10 TRC, 8 unemployment rate, 10 youth gangs (see Youth gangs) South Africa’s Refugees Act of 1998, 52 South African Board for People Practices (SABPP), 122 South African Communist Party (SACP), 205 South African Constitution, 50, 52, 53, 112, 113 South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP), 146 South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), 26, 99, 103, 176 South African Older Persons’ Act, 99 South African population, 68 South African school system, 120 South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), 181 South African society, 28 South African–owned businesses, 71 State Maintenance Grant (SMG), 190 State-sanctioned violence, 36 Sub-Saharan refugees, 52 Sustainable development goals (SDGs), 13, 92, 112, 164 Sustainable livelihoods strategies, 165, 166 T The United Nations (UN) Youth Strategy (2030), 157 Traditional gender roles, 38 Trauma, 125, 129, 130, 137, 138 Trauma intervention programmes, 137 Traumatic experiences, 138 Traumatised societies, 134, 136 Trust, 145 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), 8 U Ubuntu, 4, 5, 42, 58–60, 62, 101, 102, 104–107, 135, 144, 147, 158 Unhealthy human relationships, 73 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 182

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 52, 104 University of Cape Town (UCT), 29, 35 Urbanisation, 129 V Virtual community, 145 Vulnerable populations, 101 W Welfare organisations, 11 White Paper, 106, 113, 174 Witchcraft, 100, 103, 107 Women’s movements, 38 World Health Organisation (WHO), 13, 136 X Xenophobia, 57, 59, 62, 70 Xenophobic attacks, 56 Y Youth entrepreneurship, 165 Youth gangs absent biological fathers, 160–162 benefits, 164 community information, 167, 168 community-based strategies, 166 definition, 157 development, gang violence, 163 developmental social work, 159, 160, 164, 165 disadvantages, 164 ecosystem theory, 158 family-centred strategies, 166 multi-modal interventions, 165 poverty-reduction, 165, 166 restorative justice, 158, 159 restorative practice, 166, 167 risk factors, 163, 164 social and economic imbalances, 157 social capital, 163 social policy, 167, 168 sustainable livelihoods strategies, 165, 166 youth unemployment, 162, 163 Youth sex offenders, 161 Youth unemployment, 132, 160, 162, 163, 165 Z Zimunyu, 152